This time of year, I take a beat to think about what I really want my Fall to look like with the kids back at school and business in full swing. While still keeping some of the summer vibe!
See last week's blog post for how to keep some of that slower summer pace.
When I think of last year, one challenge was that the kids are now in different schools -- one in high school and one in elementary.
With different schedules, and between driving them, more friends over when they are home (I work from home), and a growing business, it felt like the day was squeezed.
While I still had lots of space outside of work hours, my work days were more full than I like because I was ending them earlier, and there was little room to flex when I needed some downtime during the work day or space to think.
It’s easy to look at that and think – I need to add MORE time to the workday.
But, as I reflect on the season ahead, I long for more spaciousness. Not just in my work but in my whole life.
To have more free space during the week to think and process. To read and write. To stay more on top of the household and personal tasks.
More flexibility and less squeeze.
Longing for more space in your days?
Have you felt overwhelmed by your calendar filled with back-to-back meetings? Do you wish for more uninterrupted work time to just think and process what’s happening in your day or take a breather?
Do you need more space to flex when something unexpected happens in your week, like when your kids are sick or a team member is away?
Or want to have more space in the morning so you’re not always rushing out the door to work and getting the kids off to school?
Well, guess what?
Adding more white space to your day increases your productivity and performance. You are more balanced and less stressed.
Instead of feeling the need for MORE TIME to get everything done to be productive, studies show that more SPACE is the key to higher levels of performance and productivity.
(Which is what you and most people tend to want).
So, I say white space is the new productive.
Side note: My husband is an English major and communications professional, so this blog's title did NOT meet his approval 😉. But it is what’s been on my mind to share with you, and that’s what we are going with!
White space is where we have free time to pause and reflect, honor what we need, breathe deeply for a few moments or simply think through an important task — these moments offer more balance and flow and ease.
In our work and daily lives.
The more space you give yourself instead of scheduling every minute of the day, the more focused and clear you will be when you are at a meeting or working on the important task or to be present with your kids.
And the more space we have, the more productive we can be and the more confident we can feel. It helps us work with our energy, rather than drain it. Plus, boundaries with your time also help you to be more focused.
White space is really breathing space.
Where to start?
Take a hard look at your week and calendar. Reflect on what an ideal week would look like for you, and where you would put more space in your day that works for YOU.
Where would you put it if you were to add space to better protect your time and energy?
Then go ahead and block it – and hold the time.
(Doesn’t it feel great just to block the time?) It can instantly take some of the pressure off.
This could be scheduling a no-meeting day or no-meeting morning. Or a few minutes in between meetings.
Or space to think through deep work or prepare for an important meeting or address a personal task weighing on your mind.
Or space for for self-care and whatever you need in the moment.
It provides the room for you to honor what you need, do your best work without constant interruptions or distractions, and flex as needed when unexpected things happen.
It gives YOU the breathing space you want.
Personally, I am going to experiment with a 4-day work week. The extra day in the week is more of a “floater” day – white space for whatever I need it for.
What is one small action you can take this upcoming week to give yourself more space? How about the next 90 days? Look ahead and block the time!
Finally, if you or someone you know would like to work closely together to add breathing space in your days, take control of your workload, and create more balance in your life (performing even better) . . .
Remember to give yourself permission for more space and less squeeze. Your future self will thank you for it!
All my best,
Wherever you are on your journey, I'm here to support you in the way that works best for you!
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Stacey L. Olson is a Leadership and Certified Positive Psychology Coach, has 15 years of corporate experience and has gone through her own transformational change from burning out to balanced in life while performing at a high level (both in her corporate career and own business). She works with professionals who want to work less, live more and be their best even with all the demands, high expectations and messiness of everyday life. Stacey is the founder of The Balanced Leader™ program and offers executive and leadership coaching, workshops, and speaking.
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