The Power of “White Space” to Increase Your Productivity

White Space

This is a guest post by Sara Caputo, MA, a productivity coach, consultant, and trainer based in Santa Barbara, California. She is the founder and principal of Radiant Organizing, a professional organizing and consulting company.

They say that the power of advertising is in the “white space.” Your eyes are more likely to be drawn to the pages and ads that have less text and more space around the words. When an ad has just a few words and lots of space around those words, we are more likely to read it and it will have more of an impact on us.  That is the purpose after all.

I believe that this is true in our lives as well.  You know the feeling… you’ve jam packed your calendar from 8 am through 5 pm and haven’t left a single minute to re-group at your desk, eat lunch or get back to anyone that has emailed or called you.  Then, you get to the end of your day and you have to leave to pick up the kids or get to an appointment and you still have a good 3 hours of actual WORK to do.

By taking a step back from your calendar on a consistent weekly basis, you can pinpoint those days and time frames that are too close together, which will allow you to make better scheduling decisions.  You can’t always control the white space, but you can NEVER control it if you aren’t being honest, and editing and amending your time slots as much as possible to keep you in control of your day.

White Space is Breathing Space

The power is in the “white space” when it comes to our daily lives… the more time you give yourself to stop and take a breath, instead of scheduling yourself  every minute of your day, the more focused and clear you will be when you ARE at the meetings and working on the important projects and tasks that are needed from you.

Here are 4 simple steps to help you create more white space in your days…

1. Stop and take a hard look at your calendar. How much space and time do you allow yourself in between meetings and time frames within your day?  If you find yourself going from one thing to the next, with no breathing room in between items,  focus on more planning time with your calendar.  Giving yourself even a few minutes of breathing room can make a huge impact on your performance and in your day.

2. Don’t say “yes” to everything, or at a minimum say “not right now.” White space doesn’t just happen – you have to create it and schedule it.

3. Leave time at the end of your day for planning and clean-up.  This must be SCHEDULED time – consider it your most important appointment of the day and make it a priority every single day.  Use this time to re-cap the day, clean up your desk, empty that email box and, most importantly, plan for the next day.  This way, you get to leave work at work and focus on the things and people in your life during your off-hours.

4. Let go of the feelings that you have to get it all done right now! This frenetic way of thinking is perpetuated in our society and it’s very counterproductive.  We all look very busy and important making calls, hurrying off to meetings, ticking off item after item that needs to be done to get through the day.  Although your appointments, meetings and tasks are all very important, keep in mind the mantra that if EVERYTHING is important, then NOTHING is important!

More White Space Means Better Productivity

So, the next time your mind starts buzzing and you realize that you haven’t had a second to stop and take a breath in your day… ask yourself… how much white space is in my day?  Just like in advertising…the power is in the white space!

Question: How can you add more white space into your day? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

8 thoughts on “The Power of “White Space” to Increase Your Productivity

  1. I still don’t get it. I get your post about the necessity of white space, but how can I create that white space. I am constantly working from 6 AM to 1 AM. This is routine, except for Sunday.

    Vidya @ Books Are Magic

  2. Like I talk about in the post… it doesn’t just happen, you have to create it. Even just 15 minutes of whitespace a day — working from 6 am – 1 am is a choice and while it is OF COURSE your choice and there’s nothing wrong with that, when you need the whitespace, my point in the article is that it needs to be created – doesn’t just happen. Good luck! 🙂

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