The definition of white space (in my mind) is having periods of time in which nothing is scheduled - 1 hour, 1/2 day, time between meetings, deliverables, and phone calls. It may be lunches away from the computer and/or taking weekends off. It’s not scheduling meetings back-to-back, which has been my modis operandi for months… OK, confession, for years!
I’m going to also confess that I’ve been told that I’m exhibiting signs of severe chronic stress (based on blood and urine tests). Oh, that was back in early August, and it’s taken until now for me to resolve that it’s time for drastic change…
Remembering Back Upon a Time
The picture of the snow-covered Sierra Nevada mountains was taken in January 2004, my first winter in northern Nevada, just on the other side of South Lake Tahoe. This is one of the last memories I have of just going for a drive by myself to simply enjoy scenery.
I moved there in 2003 after losing my Web development agency due to unforeseen circumstances. Prior to that I had taken few vacations due to the stress of what was once a successful (and busy) 6-person company. The stress of success was one factor that lead to my business partner trying to commit suicide. After that, Pandora’s Box opened, and… well, it was a mess. Single, and having lost almost everything but an investment house, I literally moved to survive.
It was the best and worst of times. The 2003 life-changing events enabled me to focus on SEO. I enjoyed living near snow-covered mountains, learning how to shovel snow, and optimizing websites and marketing campaigns…and ramping up with more and more clients and projects.
Fast Forward to Today
I count myself blessed to be in the search industry and have experienced a fair amount of success once again as a business owner. What I have yet to master is balance in this fast-moving industry.
- My August 2013 monthly challenge was to break the addiction to constantly being online. As a result of that “exercise,” I’m leaving Twitter and Facebook notifications TURNED OFF! The social media addiction, well, that’s another story.
- I didn’t have a challenge in September other than to survive and get work done. I worked 31 days straight without a day off other than travel to a conference. (I do not have a badge of honor about this and don’t recommend it.)
The first few days of October were packed, day and night. My husband mentioned that,
“It would be nice to have dinner together now and then.”
Dinner with him, I did. I want more!!!
Take Time to Plan…To Be A Success
Filling one’s calendar and every spare moment is, I believe, a recipe for failure (and chronic stress).
Have you heard the following saying?
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Planning, thinking, strategizing requires time.
White space means doing just that - planning time to think, to process, to be available (rather than mega stressed out) when the unexpected enters your life.
I plan to schedule more white space, free time, as my October monthly challenge and as part of what I hope will be a lifelong habit.
“Anyone can be busy. It’s easy to fill your time if that’s your only goal. In our hectic world, the ultimate sign of success is empty space on your calendar….
Empty space means that you control your time, and that you do not have to bend to other people’s schedules and whims.”
What about you?
Do you schedule back-to-back, fully planning out each week – TO THE MAX? Or do you have free time on your calendar, regularly?