Is This Something You Want to Get Better At?

Beginning tomorrow, I’m doing something I’ve never done before. And I have my friends Dorie and Carlton to thank for the inspiration. 

Taking off every Friday, as they do, is not really a goal I’ve ever had. But, lately I’ve been working on integrating the idea of “less but better” in my work and life. (Have you read “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less?”) Plus, I’m feeling the need to take more and more time from the “top,” as opposed to using the time that is left over. Especially as I make plans to work on another book proposal. 

So starting tomorrow, it’s Monday’s off for me. Well, the first Monday of every month anyway. 😉 Not only has my calendar been blocked for the rest of this year, first Mondays have already been blocked for 2021!

What does any of this have to do with you? For some of you, maybe nothing. But I suspect, for others of you, just reading the paragraphs above sparked a combination of curiosity and questions. Like:

  • Can I do that?
  • What would be the benefit?
  • How would I spend that time?

Whatever questions you have or whatever has piqued your interest, here’s my question to you:

How often do you create space for yourself?

It might be space to do nothing. Or, to think. Or, to create – be it in the form of work on non-work related projects, professional projects, or professional development. Or, to explore hobbies. Or, to rest.

These last eight months have required us all to adjust and pivot – some of us slightly, others significantly. And I suspect the pressures of everyday business and life (hello homeschooling!) has left little space for much else than just reacting on a dime.

As creating more space is a muscle I’m building myself, I can’t write this from the standpoint of ‘this is what I did and this is how it might also help you.’ Instead, please read this as an invitation to join me, because it might help you. 

So, here goes…

Choose a day

I chose Monday and monthly. Dorie and Carlton chose Friday and weekly. The point is to choose a day and frequency that works for you. If you can’t dedicate an entire day, then dedicate a few hours on your chosen day. And, put it on your calendar. 

Choose the purpose

The purpose of the space you create can be used to give you a chance to rest and recharge, to reach out, to reflect, and to evaluate the choices you’ve made and/or want to make. 

It can also be used for learning. Like perhaps reading that book you’ve been meaning to get to (also on my list). Or, taking a class or course – you know the one you bought, downloaded and have yet to start or complete (guilty!).

It can also be a time for doing. That’s my purpose for tomorrow. In September, I worked with Tara Newman, Racheal Cook and Michelle Mazur on different aspects of my business. Tomorrow and the first Monday of November and December are dedicated to implementing my takeaways from that work. Particularly since I’m revamping the way I deliver my coaching for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Choose a way to protect your space

The way I see it, “protecting” the space you create is a form of self-accountability. 

Every Friday, Dorie shares a photo of either what she’s working on, reading, or what food/beverage she treated herself to afterward. Now, she may not see these weekly IG posts as a form of self-accountability. But, I do. 

Here’s my version: I told a few people who I know will ask me about the day and how I spent it.

Whether it is every Friday, the first Monday, or some other time frame, let’s be clear about something: 

It’s not about not doing. (Yes, I know that’s a double negative.)

It’s about letting go of a false sense of moving forward simply because activity is happening. It’s about being more productive precisely because you carved out time for intentional thinking and reflection.

In other words…

It’s about doing  – differently.

And it’s about having a way to build this muscle of creating space, consistently.

Choose what success looks like (and track it)

Had I had thought of this sooner, I would have reached out to Dorie and Carlton to ask, “What does success with Fridays off look like?” 

As for me, it’s this: reclaiming my weekends. It would be one illustration of success of my monthly Mondays off.

Pre COVID-19, I would often spend a lot of weekend hours working. The same is also true during quarantine. And while “a lot” is subjective, I want to interrupt this pattern. I don’t want to work on weekends anymore – or at least not as often as I am and I have historically. 

There is much that can influence how you think, feel, and act.

Like space. 

With this piece, I’ve focused on space through the lens of time (but not productivity). Yet most assuredly, one could also view space through the lens of your environment (think: environmental psychology), or money (it’s harder to be creative – though not impossible – when money is tight), or (fill in the blank). 

The benefit of space, in whatever form it takes, is that it creates an openness that can foster new ideas, spark new questions, and prompt new actions.

Therefore, if creating more space is something you, too, want to get better at, I hope you’ll join me. And I hope you’ll start soonest. Because I think creating more space can help you make better decisions. In addition, it’ll help you perform at your best – more and more. 

At least those are the reasons I’m working to build up my muscle of creating more space. 

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