I used to book my day solid from 5 am to 11 pm. I’d include 20-minute breaks, but it was a fully structured day. No space for anything extra. But, as I’m sure you know, unfortunately, life has other plans, and there is always something extra.
I got to the point where I was working seven days a week, and I was booked months in advance. I felt like I was in time jail, constantly facing a list of more things than I had time to do.
Realising this was an issue and determined to find a better balance, in 2012, I threw out my calendar for two years in order to discover how to find a better pace for myself and learn how to set healthier boundaries. It started with looking at how I was planning and organising my time.
What I learnt about planning and organisation is they are like white space in an art gallery: to really see and appreciate the pictures properly, you need that white space around them.
And I learnt that we need that white space in our days.
Without the white space, you can get bogged down and overwhelmed. This overwhelm is perhaps something you can relate to – it’s easy to under-value yourself rather than instigate boundaries. You always need to leave some space; to let life, the Cosmos and others collaborate in your day – because inevitably, they always will.
So, how did I find my white space? Well, I changed my planning process – it was simple but made a huge impact. I started to always leave one-third of my day empty for life.
I fought against this at first, thinking that if I had so many things to do, leaving a third of my day empty was counterproductive. But eventually, I saw sense. Creating that space makes sure you have your time for self-care and connection covered as well as work, but you allow some space to see how the Cosmos wants to play because it always will.
That extra time is like oxygen, allowing you to keep breathing and moving.
Since setting aside a third of my day, I feel paced, prepared and ready for anything that happens. I am able to give things and people (including myself) the time they deserve within healthy boundaries.
I am paced on my own terms, taking advice from the Cosmos on how to stay in harmony.
So, how does this work on a practical level? To keep white space in your day, I suggest you give yourself one big thing and perhaps 2–3 small things to achieve in a day. You might get more than that done, but once you get that one big thing and 2 small things done, your mindset is, ‘I am winning,’ and the rest is gravy.
Then, if you have more time, because sometimes you will, you can do more if you want – but you’ve already won your day because you’ve done the things on your list. And accomplishing the things on your list on a regular basis will help increase your confidence in your ability to do life!
The one big thing with 2–3 small things gives you the structure you need to move forward, and the white space allows for the movement in your day and the magic of life.
Then you are living in your pleasure principle.
And remember – keeping that white space in your week is as important as in your day. Keep at least 1 GLACIAL DAY a week – meaning a day to move slow, at a glacial pace.
Now, another way I’ve found to help keep space in your day and manage overwhelm is by embracing teamwork.
These days, so many people find it difficult to admit they need help. But by building a team around you and delegating tasks, you allow yourself to stay in your zone of genius, which in turn allows you to be more productive and get your ducks in a row! This is something I know to be true because I’ve experienced it myself.