White Space. In the graphic arts white space refers to the portions of a page that are left unmarked. White Space is important to graphic design because it gives a clean and relaxing visual effect.
In my Life Coaching practice my clients know that White Space refers to that portion of your calendar which is left unmarked, time during which you have nothing scheduled, purposely. White Space is time blocked out for yourself. According to Jim Collins, high-quality work requires long stretches of high-quality thinking. White Space “is the prerequisite for fresh, creative thought.” It is the time to empty you mind, like the proverbial teacup, and refill it with new thought. It is the time to give your body a rest.
I encourage all of my clients to schedule White Space. In the ideal world, one day each month solely devoted to you is ideal. I have one client who has a great deal of control of her own calendar. At the beginning of every month we chose a White Day. I mark that day down in my calendar as well. Invariably, the week before her White Day, “stuff” has come up. As a coach, I help keep her focused on the importance of taking one day each month to refill her cup. This often involves unwinding a few appointments or moving them to another day so that she can have one day to recharge. She might get a massage, read a trashy novel, hit the sushi bar, NOT go to the barn, stay in her pj’s all day. In any case, it is one day during which she does exactly what she wants to. If she has an appointment, it is something she really wants to do, something that refreshes her body or her mind.
You have a job, a family, a horse, friends you long to catch up with, a long list of responsibilities, finding an entire day for yourself may appear impossible. So start with an afternoon.
First commit to finding a day on your calendar that looks like a possibility. One of the kids has a sleepover, your husband has a business dinner. For some reason, you have no meetings already scheduled on your calendar at work. Find a day that has some possibilities and start to *work it*. Take a vacation day from the office. Arrange for someone else to manage the kids after school. You did a show or clinic over the weekend so the horses could use a day off.
When you have the major details covered take a moment and think about what you would do with that time that is all about you! Visualize your day. Could you schedule a nice treat for yourself? A manicure? Massage? Long hack on the trails? Do you have a book on your nightstand and can’t get past page three without falling asleep?
In my house, we take the White Day one step further and we have “PJ Day”. PJ Day is a day where we never take off our pajamas and we don’t leave the house. We do crafts or watch movies in bed. Even my 5 year old feels over programmed sometimes. PJ Day is something that my daughter and I both really look forward to once we have a day on the calendar. No trips to the grocery or the barn. Absolutely no errands. I plan ahead and have the house stocked with our favorite food and some new DVD’s or a new board game.
As much as I enjoy PJ Day with my daughter, I also try to schedule White Days, which are pure ME time. White Days are hard to come by, but they are worth the effort.