In 2017, however, there is a bombardment of noise in which silence could now be a coveted answer.
Noise is perpetuating the inability to concentrate, create, and communicate in a way that promotes community. Everyone has a private opinion which can now be aired publically.
Why make time for silence?
Think about it – while sitting in a waiting room, everyone opts to pull out their phone to pass the time. During any sit and wait time, there is a pacifier in every hand. Nobody likes to be bored.
“By abolishing any chance of being bored, we have also lost the time we used to have to think and process,” states Greg McKeown, Essentialism.
Silence becomes necessary for focus. For clarity. For insight. For thinking deeply, leading to innovation and creativity…and for sensing oneness rather than separation between ourselves and everyone else.
The busier and faster life feels, the more important it is to build silence into our schedule.
When the brain is idle and disengaged from external stimuli, we can finally tap into our inner stream of thoughts, emotions, memories and ideas. Engaging this network helps us to make meaning out of our experiences, empathize with others, be more creative and reflect on our own mental and emotional states.
What does scheduling silence look like?
Take a walk
Get outside and leave your devices inside. Exercise without music. GASP! If you’ve already been successful at scheduling exercise, this time is as good as any to experiment with leaving the noise off and spend time moving your body in silence. Movement is good for the body, and silence is good for the brain.
Turn in a bit early with a soothing bed time routine. Perhaps it’s a warm bath and 30 minutes of reading instead of watching TV or scrolling through news on your phone.
Twice a year Bill Gates takes a week off from his daily duties to do nothing but read. Make space and time for yourself to do silent reading. Consider the classics whose themes and ideas have withstood the test of time. (Read here for my favorites of 2016.)
Instead of grabbing for the phone on the nightstand upon waking, leave it there. Get ready for the day without any bombardment of outside information entering your mind. Step outside to get a brief moment with the sunrise, the birds singing, and the crisp morning air.
While your brain has reset over a good nights sleep, extend the benefits of slumber by using your morning brainpower on focus of your core work.
Take 20 minutes to sit and be still. Get away from the hustle and bustle of work and give yourself 20 minutes to be alone and think. No music. No phone. No work. Maybe your car is a place to go. Meditate for a midday brain reset and regroup for the afternoon.
What other ways to schedule silence did I miss?
How comfortable are you with silence?
Where can you schedule a few minutes starting today?
How would silence benefit you personally or professionally?
(For those who loved Simon&Garfunkel, here’s The Sound of Silence resurrected by Disturbed for this generation.)
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