6 Ways Alone Time Makes Better Leaders, Especially for Women
RAFT Team, March 21, 2022
Women are busier now than they’ve ever been. When not working, most women’s attention is 100% on family and home.
Have men stepped up to the plate. Definitely. And thank you! But women still feel the need to make life smoother for those they care about. And with social interaction still not what it was pre-pandemic, many moms feel like they have to make up for their kids' social gap.
Covid has brought on logistical complications, like where and when schooling happens and figuring out how to work from home. But there is an added emotional burden as well: women feel the weight of carrying all the lists in their heads — doctors appointments, grocery lists, checking in on loved ones, prepping family meals, and managing the household and keeping track of everyone’s schedules.
Can you relate? Do you feel the exhaustion creeping into your soul? Does anything feel fun anymore? Do little things send you into overwhelm? If so, you could probably use some alone time. Observe the women around you. They need alone time, too.
Alone Time Feels Counter to Culture
Alone time is complicated because our culture praises busy. You don’t feel right about taking some time away. On top of that, most people don’t like to be alone — the phone or the TV fills the gap. It’s too difficult to be alone because you might find yourself overthinking things or criticizing yourself.
What actually is alone time? It's not sitting in a room all by yourself. It’s simply a time away from your normal routine when you’re undistracted and doing something you enjoy. You may feel guilty at first when you schedule alone time, but when you begin to make it a practice, you and everyone around you benefits.
Alone time makes better leaders. Here's how:
Helps You Unwind
Leaders carry a lot of weight on their shoulders. When you’re stressed or tired, your body moves toward survival mode. You stop breathing intentionally or deeply. But here’s the magic — when you slow down, you begin to take deeper breaths and activate your vagus nerve. In turn, this slows your heart rate and decreases anxiety and stress. In other words, your brain has a chance to unwind because all your body systems and fight-or-flight response aren’t pinging it every minute!
Gives You More Creativity
Your imagination is like a muscle. Without use, it can atrophy. But here’s the thing: It's very easy to let go of our imaginations and instead, grab your phone, flip on the tv, or text a friend. Even when you’re waiting in line at the coffee shop. What if you didn’t? What if you just took in the things around you and allowed yourself to get curious? Here are a few starter questions to spur your creativity:
- I wonder if…
- In what way…
- How did…
- Why would…
- Would it be possible…
- If I could…
Check out these additional ways to boost your creativity.
Creates a No-Judgement Zone
Alone time allows you complete freedom to experiment and try new things. Maybe you wanted to learn to play the harmonica. Or learn to dance. Use your alone time as exploration time.
Believe it or not, the more you empty your brain of all your cares and worries, the better you’ll be able to concentrate. It gives your brain a chance to move out the fog and focus, which allows you to think more clearly. As a result, it also helps you to be more productive.
Helps You Solve Problems
It’s easy to make quick decisions during the day to keep the momentum going. But in this reactionary mindset, you’ll likely default to the same solution to the problem. Alone time will help your brain take a rest and learn to form new ideas. This time gets you out of the grind and helps you gain perspective. Even if you aren’t thinking about the problem specifically, you’re distancing yourself and giving yourself space to take a breath.
The more you know and understand who you are and what you want out of life, the more likely you are to make good decisions. This helps you choose friends who are like-minded — you can be a support system for each other! And as you get to spend time thinking deeply, the more you’ll appreciate deeper relationships with those around you.
Once you begin a practice of consistent alone time, you’ll start experiencing these 6 benefits. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to understand how these can make you a better friend, partner, and parent. And as women are taking on more and more leadership roles in business (especially during the pandemic!), remember that alone time makes better leaders.