Last month we focused our conversations around clutter. This month we’re shifting gears to talk about time- how we manage it, how we manage ourselves, what our challenges are, and more. Today I’m thinking about what happens when we have so much going on every day that there’s no time left for not doing. We’re so busy that we don’t even give ourselves any transition time. We’re overscheduled and overwhelmed. Does this sound familiar? Do you wake up each day knowing that you can’t possibly accomplish all the items on your list?
In general, I’m a pretty good manager of my time. However, something surprising happened to me this past weekend. My husband and I sat down to discuss our summer fun and vacation plans. Even though I was looking forward to all the things we wanted to do, I found myself getting very stressed, even a little freaked out. As we started looking at dates, I saw weekends disappearing.
One of my goals for 2015 is to be more conscious of the white space in my calendar. To me that white space represents unplanned time. It’s potential time when I can relax, do, or not do. I can say “yes” to something on a whim because there’s the space to do that. The white space is like a free pass. With the many commitments that I do have, that white space becomes essential for my sanity and well-being.
So, as Steve and I planned, instead of feeling happy and excited, I felt anxious. While this wasn’t pleasant to experience or watch, it was important to identify what I was feeling, understand the significance, and embrace being uncomfortable. By doing that I realized that I am the guardian of my own white space. Duh. No one is saying, “Linda, you have to schedule every waking moment on your calendar.” In fact, my body had a visceral reaction when I thought I was going to over-schedule my time. My reaction was so intense (and impossible to ignore) that it prevented me from making all of the decisions we wanted to make.
Here’s what happened. We prioritized. We made a few plans. We kept some weekends free. We might choose to secure a few more dates on the calendar, but for now I’m guarding that white space. What my mind understood earlier this year, my body reminded me of loudly and clearly.
How much white space do you need? How do you manage and protect your time? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join our conversation.