Hey there! Dachia here. Welcome back to Focus on Your Small Business.
I have a favorite term that I haven’t used much, but think I will from here on out.
That term is ‘white space.’
I’m not 100% sure where it got started, but the earliest use of it that I’ve heard is from the design world.
In design, “white space” is negative space. It’s not blank space because it does have purpose. It is balancing the text and images with each other and the page by placing or allowing the white space its room.
The white space helps focus your attention. It also helps you feel more at peace of the visual.
Imagine a page of text… run on… no paragraphs… no images… just text.
It has an immediate feeling of chaos or overwhelm. It is not inviting.
Now imagine the same text, but broken up into short groups of sentences or just one sentence at a time, with space between them.
Much more visually inviting. Much more peaceful. Relaxing.
We need white space in our daily lives just as much as we need it in our visual presentations. If our lives are cluttered and over-booked… or each moment is planned, we can’t focus properly on anything.
Filling your day with busyness has been said by experts and studies to kill creativity.
Now white space is often referred to as short or small periods of time where you can do something else or nothing at all.
playing a short game of something either alone or with somebody else
Whatever you want.
But it can also be something bigger. That’s what I tend to gravitate toward. I like chunking my time. So while I will still take break from whatever I’m doing and go to youtube and watch a Game of Thrones Arya compilation… I also know that I need bigger chunks of white space. A 3 hour hike with the dogs. An hour laying in the sun on the deck. Reading on the deck in the morning before I get my day started.
One of the podcasts I listen to mentioned that they build in blocks of white space in their schedule weeks in advance. They take it just as seriously as the chunks of time working on an actual project. Everything else is built around that. They have time blocked off to take a block and think about the big picture — or think about nothing at all.
Technology has allowed us to be so much more productive, that we have been conditioned to believe that we should be productive all the time. We feel guilty if we are not producing… producing… producing.
I’ve fallen into this trap myself too often. It is the reason I thought I’d talk about white space today, and make an effort to bring it up often and help you integrate it into your day.
White Space can be as simple as a strategic pause taken between activities. Whether a tiny breath of fresh air at the window or walk to the park and sitting on a bench for a few minutes. These planned pauses in the busyness of your workday are the oxygen that allows everything else to catch fire.
For several months, since I had my last face to face client, I had been trying to work super hard and work long hours because I felt guilty and lazy if I didn’t.
My brother and I were partners on this business. He was paying our bills while I got the business going and a goal was for him to be able to quit his job when we had the income to support both of us.
So, I put a lot of pressure on myself. Knowing he was working a job he didn’t really love anymore… construction… he’s over 50… and knowing that I was spending my day doing workI actually liked and could take a break at any time and had the furkids…
So, I got up around 5:30 every morning, and dove into work. Searching and testing resources. Catching up on education through videos of conferences, webinar and videos et. And I pushed myself to keep working on some aspect of the business till bedtime.
After all, it wasn’t really strenuous work. I should be able to do it all day. Right?
However, I had noticed that I was also trying to work on the business on the weekends and that was not as easy because my brother was home on weekends and there was stuff to do around the house.
When we were not working on house projects, I felt I should be right back on the business.
Again, this is not strenuous work. I’m in a warm comfortable room… can eat something at any time… go for a quick walk outside… I should be able to do this all day every day.
Here’s the thing.
When I did go outside to play with the dogs or get a parcel from our delivery box… I had ideas. I had thoughts of what I could create. I was creative.
And being creative… that feeling of creative juices flowing… that’s why I wanted to create my own business in the first place.
So, I scheduled the weekends off. I made no plans to work on the business on the weekends. Period.
And after the first weekend where I had all white space, and took a 5 mile hike with the dogs… and did some house projects… I felt pretty good. When I had thoughts of the business, something to create… or offer… I jotted it down in a notebook.
But the big takeaway from this was that while Didn’t really accomplish anything more… I didn’t accomplish or produce anything less for the week. And what I did produce came easier to me because I was clearer on what I was trying to do. I could see the big picture becauseI wasn’t right in the production 24/7.
I had some distance from it.
So then I started thinking that perhaps some more white space during the week would be beneficial too.
So, given thatI’m an early riser by nature, and I get started on business tasks by around 6:00 AM… I thought I should put some white space in the afternoon and evening area. Instead of going going going till 8 PM, which was getting pretty close to my bedtime… by nature… I should knock off around 4…that’s a fluid stopping point. If I’m really into something that is flowing and I’m getting a lot produced easily… I’ll keep going. But if I’m doing general tasks and just staying busy… I’ll knock off.
The big takeaway here today is that you should likely be scheduling white space in your day and week. Now, I haven’t gotten THIS far yet… but planning large chunks of downtime a few months in advance is awesome.
It is likely that adding white space to your days and weeks will not decrease production. Not noticeably.
If you are wondering how you could possibly add more white space to your schedule with all the stuff you have to do building your platform, go check out the membership site. Use the free trial. The membership site is a subscription service designed to give you good simple resources for what to do and how to do it so that you can get in and get out and get on with your day.
Go to dachia.com/membership and try the free trial. If you watch the video there, you’ll get a discount code that will save you 25% every month you are a member.
I’ll talk to you next week. Until then, make it a good one. It’s all up to you… with a little bit of me.