Can you imagine what music would be like with no rests? How about the way you change the meaning of a phrase by rearranging the pause between the words?
Every designer knows and values the power of white space. White space is the empty space between and around the elements on a page. It's the space with nothing in it. Although white space is made of nothing, it isn't meaningless. White space increases focus, brings more clarity, and helps the important ideas on the page stand out.
White space works the same way in your world too. White space creates a context to experience the movement and meaning of your experiences. BIG Shifts, especially, are an intense training ground in which you are invited to let go of the noise and static in your world and bring in the white space.
White space is the space between your loads and your limits. It is one of the secret ingredients to go from struggling to succeeding.
So, if your BIG Shift has you feeling depleted, stressed, frustrated, and pulled in every direction, it's probably time to add in lots more white space. You'll know you're ready for it if you're experiencing:
- Low energy and inspiration
- Loss of clarity and ability to take action
- Stressed relationships and environments
How much white space do you need? It varies. Sometimes you need more white space in your life than you require at other times. Thresholds aren’t easily measured. But becoming aware that you need white space can help you find your own bandwidth.
Ready to add white space to your adventure? Try out my ACE formula:
Announce. Let people know. Once you tell your clients and colleagues, family and friends, it is now a commitment. By letting others know about your revised schedule and availability, you are actually helping them support you on your white space intention.
Calendar. Put it in your schedule, electronic or paper. If it's in the schedule, it's in. It's easy to let the hours blend together, but when you have specific time set aside for being in the ‘nowhere to go, nothing to do' space it's bound to occur. Even better? Treat it ALL like white space and determine the times throughout the week when you ARE available, for the other stuff.
Enforce. You've got to stick to it. No flimsy boundaries here. One of the best ways to ‘enforce' it is to change environments so that you are unavailable. When you take time off, disconnect. It's in the full commitment to the white space that the magic occurs.
How to Find White Space
Here are some ways you can incorporate more white space into your day-to-day adventure:
1. Lighten your load. Streamline down to the bare essentials. Give your attention to what is absolutely necessary. Pare back your schedule, take more time off. Make sure that you take a “day of rest.” Plan something that rejuvenates and nourishes you – a massage, bubble bath, relaxing music, or losing yourself in a good book.
2. Take white space breaks. Slow down and reconnect to yourself. Start and end your day with five minutes of pure white space. Between appointments, instead of a quick email check, take 2-5 minutes for white space. Use the time spent drying your hair or preparing a meal, and bring a white space intention to it. Connect with your body, your breath, or a part of nature. Try Calm, a free application that provides a meditative moment. It's also available on your iPhone. This will help you click into a white space frame of mind.
3. Create white space in your home. Use colors that invite ease and openness. Declutter your space, clear up countertops and surfaces, even walls and furniture. Creating a “white space” in your home can help make your home more relaxing, more comfortable, and more yours.
4. Cut down on noise. It might be the noise in your inbox, or from well-meaning relatives and friends or even shutting off the radio while your driving and playing some soothing tunes. Feel into the places where there's static and bring in some space.
Creating consistent white space is, at first, a practice. Eventually, it becomes your way of being. If you give yourself permission to relax you will find that you can create a lot out of nothing. White space anyone? Let me know how you create white space in your world in the comments below.