Add Some White Space

White space. Do you have any on your calendar?

Or are you constantly running from one meeting to another; one event to another?

More importantly, when white space shows up on your calendar, how does it make you feel? Do you welcome and embrace the downtime? Or do you see it as space that needs to be filled?

We must quiet our minds and give ourselves time to think. More often than not, to really make it happen, this time must be scheduled. It must also be – and I don’t think this word is too strong – sacred. Uninterrupted. Yours alone.

In Creating a Charmed Life, Victoria Moran advocates “taking ten” each day, stating that “the surest way to access [your] energy… is through silence, through taking a specified amount of time each day for mediation, prayer, journal writing, or inspirational reading.” Later she continues, “Even if your busyness tells you that you can’t afford to take quiet time, know that you can’t afford not to.”

Elaine St. James devotes the chapter “Do Nothing” to a similar concept in Simplify Your Life as well. She shares that learning to do nothing is actually a skill that must be learned; that it isn’t as easy as one might think. Different from Moran, she suggests this time be without books or writing and that “the idea is just to be with whatever is going on in your head without having to do anything about it.”

On a bigger scale, Bill Gates has famously taken time away from work, family and friends for his twice yearly Think Week. Michael Karnjanaprakorn’s blog on his own Bill Gate’s inspired personal retreat outlines how the practice of time away, alone, can change perspective and even career direction.

I’ve been good at taking my vacation time but I’m not always very good at sitting still with myself – even for just the ten minutes that Moran suggests, let alone a whole week away.

But I’m thinking it might be time to make time for some precious white space on my calendar.

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3 thoughts on “Add Some White Space

  1. Pingback: Coaching: Scheduling | Coach Carolyn

  2. Thanks for the reminder about being still, Carolyn! It’s so important…and beneficial.

    One of the best things I’ve learned in the past year is how to practice mindfulness. Mindful meditation is the practice of being truly in the moment by taking in all that’s around you–all the sights, sounds, sensations, emotions–and experiencing them by letting them wash over you. You learn to go from “doing mode” with its endless lists of things to do and judgments about how you should be spending your time to “being mode” which is all about settling down, being still, and getting in tune with yourself.

    It’s called a practice because…..well, because it TAKES practice. I must admit that once my 8-week class was done, I slipped out of daily practice in mindful meditation. And the stress of my constant “doing mode” crept back in. I am now working to get back into daily practice and am already feeling calmer.

    I participated in an 8-week class and we followed the book “The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness.” There are many sources available for mindfulness on the Internet. Enjoy!

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