What you’ll learn in this episode:
Many people believe that having a calendar loaded to the brim with things to do is the key to having a successful business.
I think the opposite is true.
Our brilliant ideas and insights are created and established not in the constant doing, but instead in the whitespace we have in our calendar.
Today, I’ll be sharing with you why whitespace is one of the most important pieces of your business, and a key component of the success plan that creates significant growth and revenue in your business.
Here’s a glance at this episode:
- Why whitespace is an important part of your success plan.
- The top three things that come out of including more whitespace in your calendar.
- How to take your calendar, and your business, to the next level today my intentionally having, and maintaining, whitespace.
Mentioned in this episode:
Spacious Business Success Plan
Work/Connect with me:
Consults That Convert FREE Training
[00:02] Well, hello, everyone. And welcome back to the practical mindset Podcast. I’m just Miller and I’ll be your host for today’s podcast, I want to talk about a very important topic today that it’s not talked about a lot in the entrepreneurial world. And I think it’s sort of a shame because I personally have come to believe that this is one of the most important things and biggest hidden secrets to success in the entrepreneurial world. And that is the idea of whitespace. So as entrepreneurs, we hear a lot about all the things we have to do, and all the things that we need to be getting done in order to create sex success in our business.
[00:43] And I do think that doing things and getting things done is really important.
[00:48] But I want to offer that the secret sauce to having significant success, pro long success success that you can maintain over time comes from not the doing all the time. But actually having white space in your calendar that allows you to step out of your usual routine. And take a pause from the things that you do consistently all the time.
[01:18] So what I mean by that is time on your calendar that is unscheduled, it is spacious, it’s considered spacious to you. And it is a place where you don’t have to show up and do anything specific, especially do the things that you might be doing consistently in your business. So maybe you don’t have client calls, or you’re not commuting or you’re not writing a paper or you’re not creating a social media post. Basically, it is on structured unscheduled time in your calendar. Now it might sound like I am saying to all of you that you should, you know, you should not be working, there should be time when you’re not working. And in essence, that is basically what I’m saying. But I don’t mean it in the sense of, you know, just hey, let’s not work and just have a bunch of time in your calendar that isn’t scheduled. And so therefore you’re not doing anything. I actually believe that intentionally having whitespace on your calendar is essential for you to actually perform at your most optimum level. And here’s why I’m going to share with you some insights that I have gleaned from doing this in my life over the last year, and to be totally transparent. Being in a struggle with my calendar in this way. I intentionally in my business schedule whitespace, I make sure that there is time in my business, where I am not working where it is unstructured. But me as an individual, I am constantly in that sort of struggle with time, like how I’m thinking about time. And so there have been a lot of times where I have scheduled these things and or I’ve intended to schedule the whitespace. And then somehow I end up in the next week in my calendar, and there’s no whitespace. And so I’m doing this dance constantly with my calendar, because I believe so deeply about the power of whitespace. And making sure that that happens in my business. But again, transparently, it is not my default mechanism, it is something that I have to actually work hard to make happen. And I’m going to go out on a limb and say that for a lot of my clients, and I’m thinking for many of you that are listening to this podcast right now, it might be a struggle for you as well. And that might be multi pronged. And I’ll tell you that some people, it shows up that whitespace is difficult to schedule, because they have beliefs under the surface that they can’t have whitespace in their calendar, they can’t have unstructured time where they’re not actually working because they believe that you need to work hard. And you need to be working all the time, in order for you to have a really successful business. So where they struggle with the whitespace is that they’re not able to get underneath those thoughts where they don’t feel guilty or shame or resistance around putting that whitespace on their calendar. For other people. It’s just habitual, they have been filling their calendar like back to back to back to back, where they’re just used to kind of if there’s a whitespace, I’m going to put something in it. I’m going to shove something in there. And so they’re used to habitually doing that. And so when they go to look at their calendar, it’s completely packed. Or there might be somebody in the middle and I tend to be that person in the middle. My brain tells me that if there’s a free spot, I should put something in it because I’m used to packing my calendar in that way. And there’s also this part of me that believes sometimes that that you need to be working again
[05:00] feels odd, you know, especially right out of the bat, when I first put when I first go to put that whitespace on my calendar. And it’s really taken time for me to intentionally self coach and work through it and be intentional with how I set up the calendar to get over those limiting beliefs of I’m not supposed to have whitespace on my calendar, I need to be working more. Or if there is a space, you should fill it in all those things. So I tend to be sort of in the middle where I’m, by default, I am battling those two things. But I have come to learn that whitespace is so important. And that’s both from the way that I perform the things that come out of having that whitespace. But also the way that it makes me feel, it is such a different feeling when I have whitespace on my calendar, and so it is manifesting both in my work from the brass tacks outcomes, what am I creating? What things am I putting out there? How does that look for the things that I am like literally able to hold in my hand. And it’s also manifesting in the way that I feel about showing up every day and taking care of myself and what that looks like. So I’m going to share with you the three things that I have found to be the most powerful pieces of creating whitespace on your calendar, I want to also say before I jump into that, that whitespace, the amount of whitespace. And what the whitespace looks like, is different for every person. So some people might feel or get the most benefit out of having like chunks of whitespace, meaning I’m going to have like two hours of time on my calendar, you know, two days a week, or I’m going to only work in the morning seeing clients and having a structured day. And then maybe after lunch, it’s more unstructured. So it’s sort of these big swaths of time. And then there are other people who are like, I just need 15 minutes, or I just need to have a lunch hour, or I just need to have these sort of bits and pieces in my day to really recoup. So it shows up in their day, like I don’t want to have back to back to back meetings or things like that, I want to have whitespace sprinkled out in there. And then some people it it’s almost like a day of the week or things like that, where they’re front loading it or putting it on the back end of their week. So for instance, I try to end my week, where I’m doing some work, but it’s very introspective. And it’s very unstructured. And I don’t have a lot of client calls, for instance, on my Fridays. So I hold that space. And I keep it sacred for me and working on my business and in my business
[07:47] in a way that’s a little bit different than the other four days. So the whitespace for you, it can look like anything that you want it to look like and there is no right or wrong way. And what I always tell people is just kind of play with it and see what works. So that you will feel the difference between those things, and you will sort of back into what works best for you. But it doesn’t have to be one way for everyone. So just you know, putting that out there as the first thing. Okay, so here are the three things that I have found are the most incredible benefits of having whitespace. The first benefit is the increased amount of creativity that shows up when you have these untethered times on your calendar, where you’re not always in the doing, where you let your mind expand. I joke with my clients, it’s sort of in the marinating we you marinate. In your business room, you have this luxurious time, where you can show up, and really let your brain be creative around something. So for me, I use a lot of the whitespace sometimes to just go for walks and think about things like my podcast, or maybe it might be something I’m going to share on social media or content, but it’s very free flowing. And for me personally in the whitespace I often put something that requires movement. So it might be walking or getting on my elliptical or maybe it’s doing some sort of yoga, but for me, my brain and that creative juice comes when my body is moving. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount of time for me personally, but the movement and that untethered space really allows me to create more. And it’s that active space of just being free to let my mind wander. Maybe I’ll be listening to a podcast or listening to some music.
[10:00] It just anything that touches on that inspiration, and I have seen this a lot with my clients as well. So we talk a lot about this untethered time, how do you put this whitespace. And this freedom, as part of your business plan? How do you really schedule that in, not as an afterthought, but as something that really is going to help drive your performance in a way that is going to take you to the next level, in a way that you can’t do when you’re in your routine, when you can’t do when your brain is constantly on, on, on, on on. And so what I’ve seen from my clients, too, is that the amount of expansion they have when they constrain their time on their calendar, and give it a meaning is huge. I have had clients come up with their next, you know, magnetic offer, I’ve had clients come up with aha moments of clients they want to work with, or things that they want to talk about, or partnerships that they want to have, I have one client that mapped out an entire day’s worth of a retreat on a walk, because she broke away from her desk broke away from that thing that she does all the time, which is sit in front of her computer. And she was able to go out there and create in this space, that she allowed herself to just sort of go and be and dream and allow that just to sort of transpire in the way that it was going to transpire. So the first thing that comes out of whitespace that I have seen is a an immense amount of creativity, when we let our brain just sort of go and think and dream and scheme, and marinate. So much creativity comes from that whitespace. And it’s not something that you have to put a lot of effort into, I’m talking about just like letting your brain go free, letting yourself marinate. And just think it could be in meditation, it could be in anything, but just letting it have that space, where it’s not, you know, kind of shoved into your calendar in the doing. So that’s the first thing is the creativity. The second thing is, I think it is essential that we have time where we are, quote unquote, off the clock. And the reason for that is as human beings, when we are focused, when we are working with our clients, when we are thinking about our business, when we are creating the next thing where we’re sitting in front of our computer and trying to really you know, make those things happen when we’re so in the doing, it takes a tremendous amount of effort. And as human beings, we can not constantly be putting that energy out without any sort of recoup or rejuvenation, we have to give ourselves that time to come back out of that place in order to recharge. And one of the things that I have seen for myself, many of my clients and even my colleagues is that we keep thinking, thinking, I’ll just do it, I just need to get through this, then I’ll get to the next thing. Like after I do all the things and I hit all the milestones, then I will give myself permission to have untethered time. And what that does is it literally leads to such a decrease in productivity. But at the worst end of the spectrum, it leads to us burning out. And I have to say that before 2021, I didn’t really understand what burning out really looked like that inability to focus, that desire to keep pushing and doing and packing in that calendar and just going and going and going. Sometimes, you know it with like happiness, like I want to just keep working and keep cranking it out. And things are great. And I want to talk to this person and just one more thing. But you cannot sustain that level of output. Without that sustenance, that self sustenance that comes from regrouping from disconnecting from having that untethered space. And so if you keep trying to push that boulder uphill, your productivity takes a huge nosedive. And at the worst end of the spectrum, you get burnt out. And a lot of people do this because they think they don’t have the time to take the whitespace they don’t have the time to step out of their business. Well, I’m here to tell you that when you hit the wall and you hit burnout, and you can’t function anymore, you’ll find the time because you will have no other choice. So my offer to you is find this whitespace schedule, the time before the burnout. Give yourself this time to recoup and do it in a really practical way go in and really look at what would that look like where do I need to recoup where do I need to take some time out? And what is that going to look like and be very diligent in also looking to see what comes out of that time.
[15:00] So I think the first time that I did this the first time I actually scheduled whitespace in my calendar, and gave myself the permission to not be working in my business, the amount of things that I created. In effortless sweep. It was ridiculous. I can’t tell you how many podcast episodes I thought of, I started writing chapters to a book I want to write, I started thinking about offers that I wanted to create. I mean, so much came out of just that marinating.
[15:27] That took no effort, I wasn’t trying to do it. It wasn’t that thing where I was concentrating, and I’m going to create these things. I think I specifically remember I was sitting outside at a little cafe in Maine, drinking the coffee, it was like 40 degrees. And I was so happy. I remember also thinking at that time, I can’t believe I’m sitting outside drinking a coffee right now. And it’s 40 degrees. But I didn’t even feel it. I was just like, I was untethered, I was there I was in the moment. And I was journaling, because I that’s what I felt like doing. And all this stuff came up. And it was so relaxing. And it’s such a replenishment. So the whitespace. The second thing about the whitespace is it helps to rejuvenate you, it keeps you from burning out, it allows you to find that energy and replenish that energy to allow you to keep performing at a high level the way that you want to. And for most of my clients, and many of the people listening to this podcast, they are high performing, they’re highly driven, they want to put things out there. And so in order to do that, to the best of their ability at the highest level, there needs to be whitespace. And then the third thing, which is by no means the last thing, but it’s just the last thing on this list, and it is not the least it is letting ourselves. Just be instead of doing all the time, there is something so incredible, about just being able to disconnect and relax, something so incredible about doing the things that fill you up, that just come to you in that moment, many of which are the things and the reason you became an entrepreneur, or you started the career that you started on purpose right there, or the reason that you went out there to do this. And so many of us find ourselves at the end of these days in the doing, and the pushing, and then making it happen, versus just in the being. And a lot of this comes from this place that we believe, and it’s very societal, that we believe we have to be doing things to be successful, we have to be doing a lot of things to make the things happen in our business that we want. And I am not suggesting that you don’t do anything in your business. But what I am suggesting is that you balance the doing with the being the doing with the allowing, because in that white space of being, I promise you, you will find the most incredible things that propel you forward, you will find the meaning the deeper meaning you will make the connections just by being and we need that space to take a step back and have that distance from our businesses from the being in the day to day doing all the things in order to see it. And I always joke with my clients that sometimes it really is like you are inside the bottle trying to read the label. When you give yourself that space, when you give yourself that untethered space, you allow yourself just to be and that being has so much wisdom. And from that place, we find the connections and the pieces and the paths for the things that we want to do next, that really have some of the biggest impact in our business. And I want to say that I personally believe more than ever. We need this right now. We have collectively been through so much in the last two years. I know for myself, personally, I took some time over the weekend, to finally just sort of go out into humanity in a way that I haven’t in the past two years. And I realized in that moment in those untethered moments that I had been holding my breath for the past two years. And it just happened under the surface. We have been through so much with COVID and all the things that a lot of times until we’re out of it. And it’s been a very strange time, right? We haven’t really been able to sort of fully go back to quote unquote, normal.
[20:00] We’re hoping that we’re just coming out of this pandemic now and things can return back to normal, but we’re not quite they’re yet. And we don’t even realize sometimes the things that we’re holding, and that we’re missing. And it’s in even the mental load. So for me, I just recognize that I was under the surface, really holding my breath for like the past two years. And doing that in a way where I was trying to keep it together and keep it, you know, be very diligent and vigilant about my family and the safety and the 7000 decisions we need to make every time we walk out the door, and all the things I’m sure you can all relate. And so until I got that distance in that way, and that whitespace in that in that way, that was, you know, large and big and luxurious, and also stepped into a container that was a little different than what I had done in the past few years. I wasn’t able to see it.
[20:50] And so even for me who is doing this intentionally, we’re still affected by all of these different things. And so, there’s so much that comes out of that space that we can recognize, when we step into that whitespace, it gives us a different vantage point than we would have otherwise. So just to recap, the whitespace in your calendar is essential for success. It is not an afterthought. It needs to be part of your business plan. And it needs to be intentional and shaped in a way that fits what you need and what you want the most. For some people, it’s large swaths of time for some people, it is little nuggets of time, that are unstructured in their day. For some people, it’s like one day a week at the beginning or the end. For other people, maybe it’s taking that time, you know, every so many weeks on a weekend, there is no right way to do it. But it is essential that you do it, it is essential that you let yourself have that space and time on your calendar. So that you can be untethered, you can use that space to marinate, what has come out of that whitespace are these three things. Number one, increase amount of creativity, when you give yourself that space, you will be shocked at what happens for you creatively, what expands when you give yourself that whitespace to is it’s rejuvenating you, it is filling you back up. And it that is so essential to prevent being burnt out. If you’re someone who’s highly functioning, and you’re ambitious, and you want to have it all, you need to be able to balance that time with being able to rejuvenate. And again, not as an afterthought. But as a part of your success strategy. It is so important that the whitespace is there to fill you back up so you can perform at your highest level. And then last but not least, it’s so that you can be rather than do it you can be in the moment, you can have that extra space to have a different vantage point and see things differently. It gives yourself in your mind that place to make those connections and put those pieces together in a way that you can’t do when you’re actually doing things all the time. And as a society and as human beings. We think that the more that we do, the more success we have. And I am here to tell you, that is completely not true. Yes, it requires doing. Yes, you should go out there and make all the things happen that you want to make happen. But equally as important is the not doing it’s the being. And that being happens in the whitespace. So I want you to take five minutes after this episode. And I want you to go into your calendar and I want you to look at it. And I want you to see is there whitespace on my calendar?
[23:49] And if the answer is no, I want you to go in. And I want you to schedule some right now. And here’s what I also want to say you might be listening to this thinking, I hear what you’re saying. And I don’t believe a word of it. Which is totally fine. I’m not asking you to believe me, I’m asking you to humor me. And I want you to go in and just for fun. Put some of that whitespace on your calendar, use it as an experiment. And I just want you to see what comes out of that. And if you’re someone who has whitespace on your calendar, I want you to ask yourself, Am I guarding that whitespace? And am I actually taking that time for it to be untethered? Because I’m telling you I know a lot of people who put things on their calendar and do not actually follow through with them. And I have been guilty of this too. So if you do have the whitespace there, are you honoring it, and are you honoring you? And if the answer is no, I want you to think about how you’re going to protect that time this week. What are you going to do? What are you going to shift to make sure that that time is there for you when you need it and when you scheduled it
[25:00] And I would love to hear from anyone around what are they seeing with their whitespace? How is that transpiring? What have you learned? What are those aha moments? And as you go through having and taking in that, that whitespace How do you feel?
[25:16] And feel free to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We always want to hear from you. This is the sort of thing is what we live for. So we want to hear, how is it showing up for you? How is this changing your life? What have you discovered in your whitespace. I’m going to put a vote out there that it could be the ticket to all of the success and the high level performance and the feeling amazing that you have been looking for. So until next week, everyone thanks for joining and see you then.