How Loneliness Can Inspire Your Productivity

Being Lonely Isn’t So Bad When You Get Stuff Done.

For most people, the word ‘lonely’ is a term that’s avoided like the plague. If you admit you’re lonely, that must mean you’re sad, depressed, or without friends, right?

Wrong.

There was a time where I thought admitting I was lonely meant that I was failing at life. I was just this loser person who wasn’t constantly surrounded by friends and family and that meant I was doing life wrong.

It wasn’t until I started embracing aloneness that I realized occasionally being alone is actually good for you. This isn’t to say you should forgo human contact (please don’t do that), but there’s a greater chance of lessening your productivity when you’re constantly surrounded by people and things.

Military life lends a hand to loneliness, for sure. You uproot your life every 2–3 years and start over, your service member goes on TDY or get deployed, etc.

I’ve experienced one TDY so far, and I know there are more on the way. When your significant other is away, you will inevitably spend time alone. Time that was once filled with another human will now be filled with you and two pets. Yes, you can plan trips and spend time with your friends and stay busy, but you will go to bed alone, wake up alone, and some days will be spent in solitude.

When I first found myself facing these temporary moments of aloneness, I was terrified. What if I became really sad? What if I lost motivation to do anything? What if, what if, what if…

In reality, in my times of aloneness is when I truly feel my mind at work making lists of things I want to do and try and making mental space for me to tackle those to-dos.

It could be that I’m keeping myself busy mentally so I don’t have to think of the fact that my guy isn’t home or that we won’t be able to FaceTime due to shotty wifi, or that he’s eating MREs for two meals a day instead of the delicious home cooked meal I’m having.

I am always thinking of those things, but I’m still able to get shit done when I’m feeling the weight of aloneness, because loneliness can inspire your productivity.

Some examples of how I turn loneliness into productivity:

  1. I write more. — Important for my goals in growing my blog + publishing a book.
  2. I deep clean. — I’ve discovered that Pandora + deep cleaning is extraordinarily cheap therapy, depending on how fancy your cleaning products are.
  3. I experiment with recipes. — Because cooking can be fun! And yes, it’s more fun to cook with someone, but cooking by yourself and for yourself means anything goes. And extra cucumbers.
  4. I focus on my physical health by making fitness a priority. — Nothing beats an endorphin high and pulling a pair of khaki shorts over your thunder thighs and having them fit comfortably for the first time in years.
  5. I read more. — I’m a blogger and writer, so this is just something I should always do.
  6. I remember that I am an individual who is part of a team, but I also need to focus on my individual wants and needs. — Important. I see plays, I write articles for freelance gigs, I have Margarita Monday, I visit friends out of state, I take long showers and use all of the fancy soap, I watch as many episode of Grace and Frankie as I want.
  7. I get back in touch with me. — Because at the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, you have yourself, and living with you is much easier when you love who you are.

For most people, the word ‘lonely’ is a term that’s avoided like the plague. If you admit you’re lonely, that must mean you’re sad, depressed, or without friends, right?

Wrong.

It means you’re a kickass human being who has their own agenda and shit to do, and if sometimes you’re alone in the process, you make the most of it and enjoy spending time with you.

And if you’re a military significant other like me, you also enjoy the brief break of not having to wash and pair up dozens of socks in varied shades of green.