So I’m in the midst of a wonderful experiment. I decided that I wanted to feel more spacious in my life. I decided this without really knowing what that meant. I just knew that it felt good. You see, I had created a life which seemed to tick all the boxes.
a life that ticks all the boxes
I enjoyed my work. I got to use tools that aligned with the skills that lit me up. For the most part, I was having fun. But I noticed that whilst I’d start the week energised, I would start each day with a little less energy than the day before, and the weekend would come around, and I’d need to use those two days to build my energy reserves back up. So when I looked at my week, I was comfortable with how I was fueling my body.
I had effective practises in place for managing stress, and as a medical herbalist, I had herbs at my fingertips to support whatever was going on in my body, and those who know me will confirm that getting my eight hours of healing sleep, well, it’s non-negotiable.
the missing piece of the puzzle
So, what was the missing piece of this jigsaw puzzle? I’m an outcome-focused goal-getting kind of girl. So I would set goals, deliver on goals, celebrate and then move on to the next goal. When you’re sitting on the beach watching the waves gently lap the shore, you’ll notice that the waves come into the shore.
They pause, they go out and they meld into the ocean, and then they begin again. I was moving like a sped-up video of these waves. Wave comes in, a brief pause, and the wave goes out. Time to catch the next wave. I wasn’t melding into the ocean.
what is spaciousness?
So what exactly is spaciousness within this context? Well, it’s the antidote to hustle and grind. Spaciousness is the idea that there’s enough time for the things that matter. It’s the quiet beyond the meetings, the deadlines, the agendas. It’s where you decide how you feel today. Spaciousness is defined as having ample room.
Researchers have suggested that creating spaciousness in your day can increase your productivity. It can lift your mood, and it can reduce your stress levels. So how does it support your productivity, I’m guessing you’re wondering.
Well, Parkinson’s law says that our tasks will always expand to fill the time available for those tasks. So carving out space to be, to recover, to daydream, or to leave your desk to go for a walk reduces the time available for tasks, and you return refreshed with your mind already having worked through things in the background.
Now, I know it seems counterintuitive to reduce your available task time when you feel that you’re already too busy, and for me, this was the hardest part of my experiment. The research shows that giving your mind as little as a five-minute mini break can boost creativity, increase focus and resilience, and all those factors contribute to productivity.
will you give it a try?
So are you keen to give this a try? Begin your own experiment. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Begin by prioritising your self-care. Scheduling breaks, creativity time and thinking time in your calendar, and these are booked out ahead of time so nobody can schedule a meeting with you at this time.
So assert your boundaries and protect those spaces. They’re not negotiable. Now grab some small squares of paper and on each square of paper, write down something you can do in that time that’s fun or relaxing or inspiring or all three. Now grab yourself a tin box, a pot, a vase or a container that lights you up and store your pieces of paper in there, at each scheduled break time, pull out a piece of paper and do that thing. By the way, this is a really fun thing to do with your team, and it’s a great way to let your team know that breaks aren’t optional.
the first meeting of the day
They’re actively encouraged, possibly even mandated. Now that you’ve created space in your calendar, let’s talk about you. Make the first meeting of your day a meeting with yourself. When you get to work or you enter your home office, grab a coffee or a tea, your notebook and spend some time exploring what you would like today to be about.
- How do you want to feel today?
- What do you want to accomplish?
- Big and seemingly small?
- Who do you need to catch up with?
- Who would you like to catch up with?
Now that your thoughts for today are in your notebook, go back to your desk and schedule when these things will happen. Now it doesn’t need to all happen today. It just needs to be scheduled for today. This last suggestion can be a game changer. It’s disarmingly simple, yet for some of us, it’s so difficult to do.
Are you ready?
Physically remove yourself from your workspace at least once a day. No more cramming that sandwich into your mouth, checking emails and working out which meeting room the next meeting is supposed to be at. Yeah, that used to be me.
A key component of building resilience, reducing stress and boosting your energy is our ability to walk away. Changing the scenery refreshes your mind.
It moves your nervous system back to a more relaxed, balanced state, and it soothes your emotions to go for a walk, eat lunch out or in the cafe downstairs, and bonus points include some nice deep breaths along the way.
You’ll return to your desk refreshed and you’ll feel alert thanks to the medicinal effects of natural light and something your team will love. There’s going to be a smile on your face. Today’s episode is an invitation. It’s an invitation to sink into the luxury of enjoying the feelings that come with having more space in your life.