Just like everyone, there are times I feel a little overwhelmed with everything I need (and want) to do. There’s meals to be planned and cooked. Relationships to tend. Clients to coach and articles to write.In the midst of the busiest of days, one of my best assets is the creation of white space.
“What’s white space?” you ask. White space is the space between our loads and our limits. It’s the gap between rest and exhaustion. My dearest, it is the space between breathing freely or feeling as if you are suffocating. One of the challenges is that we don’t want to be seen as under-achievers (heaven forbid!) so we fill our schedules to overflowing. Everyone, it seems, wants a piece of us, and no one seems to appreciate the fact that each of us is a finite resource. (Perhaps you don’t even realize that you are indeed a finite resource until you hit a brick wall.)
Unfortunately, most of us believe we can manage more in a day that is possible. And I get it. Because there are so many attractive options.We want to do it ALL. Yet, we also need more white space.
And when it comes down to brass tacks, our thresholds can shift.
Yet the truth of the matter is this: white space is one of the secrets to shifting your life from barely hanging on to thriving.
I sometimes wish I had a gauge that would tell me that I’m over capacity. Like many of you, I may not realize I’m over extended myself until I feel the pain – you know – overwhelmed, dissatisfied, and exhausted.
The biggest challenge with our thresholds is that they can change. What worked for us five years ago may not work now. And if I’m to be completely honest with you, your thresholds and need for white space this month can be different from what you needed last month.
It’s wacky and frustrating, I know. Yet the one thing I know about life is that it is always shifting. So, while your needs for white space can shift. And your thresholds of what feels nourishing compared to what may feel overwhelming may seem as if it teeters like you’re balancing a ball on your head?
The key to creating the white space you need to love your life is awareness. Yet, is that truly enough? Awareness is great. but the thing is, you need to make it happen, not just think about it.
Which begs the question, if life is always changing. And your need for white space may shift from one period of time to the next. How on earth do you figure how where your threshold of feeling awesome to feeling exhausted lies?
I hate to break it to you, sweetheart, but the answer to creating enough white space demands doing some sort of regular review.
I’m personally a fan of a weekly review (and planning session). Though my process has shifted, it’s something I’ve done for more than twenty years. And, you are probably cringing or rolling your eyes. Because, the last thing you probably want to do when we’re talking about the need for creating white space is set aside an hour or so a week to review and plan.
Minimally, sit down once a week and make a list of what needs to be done in the coming week. Even if you use an electronic system for tracking tasks, taking pen to paper allows your brain to process what you’re demanding of yourself in the days ahead.
And then, in order to find your threshold point, take a red pen to your list and first apply the two Q’s to everything on your list
- Q1: How long will it take? Reasonable assessments on how long it takes to accomplish all the tasks on your list can help you determine the answer to the next question….
- Q2: What is the return on investment? Is the amount of time and energy – as well as the results and enjoyment I get while working on the task – worth it?
Then, after you determine the answers to the two Q’s, it’s time to apply the 4 D’s:
- D1: Delete: ask yourself, “what’s the worst thing that can happen if a particular task isn’t done?”
- D2: Delay: Unlike procrastinating, delaying is actually about rescheduling something for a smarter time.
- D3: Delegate: I know it’s tempting to do everything on your own, but it’s okay to ask for help. If someone can do a task better, faster, or even well enough, shift the task. You can also delegate the things you just don’t like to do, like mowing the lawn or cleaning the house. (Trust me, darling, it’s worth it!)
- D4: Diminish: ask yourself if you can streamline any of the tasks to reduce the amount of time?
It’s so easy to begin feeling overwhelmed. And, to be honest, my dear? White space in your life isn’t something that just happens.
Yyou have to fight for it. You have to plan for it. And the benefit of creating that white space is that not only can you love your life as it is even more than ever. You have the space to pursue those bigger dreams and goals as well. And that, my dear, is a beautiful thing.
Does creating white space sound like a good move? You’ll find it easier when you create a vision and a plan.
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