Do you sometimes feel like you need to jam pack your schedule in order to feel productive, or as busy as the next person? Does having a "full calendar" make you feel important and give you a sense of value? I have to admit that there have been times where I felt like I wasn't very valuable or important if I didn't have a crazy busy schedule to rattle off to someone if asked. A lot of times though the items that were on my calendar were not necessarily things that were a priority to me or that I felt passionate about. I was just dong them to avoid having to say "no" to someone, or to make myself feel important.
I believe that in our current culture, we are trying hard to eliminate the "white space", to be efficient, to get things done, to demonstrate our value. We push ourselves to cram in as many projects and activities as we can. We value ourselves based upon how many tasks we have to accomplish on our schedule. We almost feel embarrassed if we take time for a priority other than work or volunteering.
What if we created more white space? What if we sat down and determined what our priorities are, what we truly value, what we will regret if we died today and didn't do? What if we filled our calendar first with all of our priority stuff? Including, first and foremost, all of our personal priority items. Building our schedule around our priorities. Scheduling your priorities and then build your year, your month, your week, your day around them. Hold them as sacred and non-negotiable. As Steven Covey says, "Don't prioritize your schedule, schedule your priorities."
What if we said "no" to things that we are not passionate about leaving more room on our calendar for our priorities? It can be a hard thing to do, especially at first. The more you practice saying "yes" to your priorities and "no" to things you are not passionate about, the easier it becomes.
Let's also consider looking at white space differently. Instead of seeing white space as a negative, let's view the white space as the place where our creativity resides. Sometimes we need to be inefficient for a while in order to be more effective, more creative, in the long run. View the white space as your time to allow your ideas to marinate. The white space is where the creativity is, it's where the idea can marinate and grow and expand and develop. Wander around for a bit with the idea. Allow your ideas to breathe. This doesn't mean holding onto them until they are perfect. We are not striving for perfection, just time for the creativity to happen. As Elizabeth Gilbert calls it, "The power of finishing. I don't want it to be perfect, I want it to be finished."
Let's also consider viewing the white space as time to breathe, time to just be, time to reenergize, to rejuvenate, to reflect, to reconnect. It's opening up time for flexibility, space for flex if we need it. Time for a loved one who may have an immediate need, time for you if you have a need. It allows us space for adapting to shifts and changes that arise.
What are your priorities, your values? Do you schedule them first, hold them as sacred? What do you think about creating more white space? Have you tried this concept? What has worked for you?
As always, I would love to hear your feedback. Leave me a comment or send me a message.