So, people always raise the issue of the challenges they face with balance, particularly in this 24-7, technology-infused, adrenaline-addicted global business culture we live and work in. Not only is e-mail a jealous mistress, everything we commit to in life has a pull on us for attention, time, focus, and results. What IS work/life balance and is it attainable? It is even harder if you are either a leader or someone accountable for rainmaking results. The need to balance networking, visibility, marketing, branding, media and public relations, and sales with your daily deliverables on the job not to mention your life outside of work becomes a juggling act worth buying tickets to see!
Hence, the importance of whitespace.
Whitespace is something you insert into your calendar, protect rigorously and defend vigorously.
It is, literally, white space. Blanks. Nothingness that you put there by design. Protected time, sacred slots of air that build a cushion of sanity into your otherwise over-packed, multi-tasked day. Spaces in your calendar between meetings, calls, events, projects and tasks that are for you to use to recharge your battery, shift your perspective, re-juice your energy tank, and otherwise refresh yourself for sustained high performance over time.
Try it now! On each day in your calendar, move something so that you can insert at least a half hour of white space today and tomorrow. Gradually, see if you can create 3-5 instances of white space of whatever length suits you on each day. You’ll find the counter-intuitive result as a surprise. By doing this, you actually become MORE productive, find you HAVE MORE TIME, and feel less stressed as a result. Don’t take my word for it…try your own experiment and report here what you observed!
As we know from Loehr and Schwartz’s amazing book, The Power of Full Engagement, it is really our ability to manage ENERGY, not TIME that makes the difference.