If you’re a designer, or if you’ve ever talked to one, you’ve probably heard of white space. Whitespace refers to leaving room on the screen or page for elements to breathe. White space focuses attention on certain elements by eliminating the clutter around them.
There’s another type of white space that you can benefit from, especially if you are an entrepreneur or business person. This is creating white space with your time and your schedule.
Curtis McHale also talks repeatedly about leaving time in your schedule for self-development.
There is a time to hustle, and be 100% focused on your work, but you can’t sustain that intensity 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You have to leave space in your day, in your week, and in your year to spend time with family and learn new things.
What Does Your Schedule Look Like?
Time is your most valuable asset. Of that, there is no doubt. But it is easy to believe we are spending our time wisely, when we are filling up our spare moments without much thought as to what we are filling it with.
Nature abhors a vacuum. Your spare time will be consumed if you aren’t deliberate with it.
Being caught in a rat race feels like we are being productive. It is true you need to hustle. But you cannot hustle blindly. You have to save time to step back and actually work on your business, and not just in your business. This cannot happen if you fill every waking moment with work.
There is a time for everything. If you have no time to develop new skills or plan new endeavors, then what do you gain from your work? Many tech companies expect their employees to work long hours and develop new skills on their own time. Something doesn’t feel right about this. It is the antithesis of scheduling white space to grow as a human being.
Business owners that struggle with growth are often guilty of being buried in their work, to the point where they cannot even think about how to change the pattern they are in. You’ve got to be courageous and just start carving that time out of your week, so you have perspective.
You must be ruthless with your time, so that you have some to spend. Save some time for personal development. Save some time for adventures you wouldn’t be able to take if you filled every hour of every day with activity. Save time to think about where you want you business to go in the future.
Ways to Create White Space
An empty space desires to be filled by something, even if it does not help us advance our long-term goals. For this reason, it is vital to establish time in each day and each week where you are unavailable for regular work activities. This will allow you the white space necessary to take those impromptu meetings with colleagues. Boxing out time on your schedule allows you time to read books on business, or to learn a new skill. Leaving ample margin in your week ensures that you can spend time refreshing yourself and keeping your family relationships healthy.
Spare time does not create itself. You have to be a little selfish. This is OK.
Yep, it’s OK to be a little selfish with your time. No need to feel guilty about it, and no reason to let anyone else give you grief over it. It is an investment in yourself. This is why other people will try to dissuade you from building white space into your schedule. This will make you different from 95% of people around you. Don’t let anyone else’s hidden motivations stop you from doing what is right for you.
A funny thing happens when you stop trying to pile too much activity into each day. You have more energy for the things you do choose to keep in your schedule. You have more focus on the things you keep on your agenda. You don’t feel as burned out or exhausted. You have time to connect with other people in your industry. And the things that don’t make it to your daily “to-do” list? The world does not end because they get done tomorrow or the next day instead of today.
Everything isn’t as urgent as it seems. I believe in hustling your ass off, but I also believe in having white space in your schedule for good things to happen.