25 years ago, industry pundits told marketers their messaging was competing with about 8,000 other messages daily. That was a whole lot of clutter attacking us through billboards, radio, TV and all forms of print. We literally could not escape it.
And then came electronics, which took us from being overwhelmed to full bore suffocation. Taking the overwhelmed feeling to a whole new level is the frightening fact that we have become – as stated in a Brian Gardner article on nosidebar.com – “addicted to being busy” and he cautions that “the need for less-often results in a life of more.” We are now actively working to ensure that we’re buried in our tablets, phones and laptops.
A recent article by Jocelyn K. Glei cites researchers Mullainathan and Shafir as creating the term “time scarcity,” which they caution “diminishes our imaginative powers.” They further warn that we are “preoccupied by time scarcity.” Does that sound familiar? Are you proud of being “booked solid” or “slammed?” In a chilling pronouncement, Glei notes that “time scarcity is like kryptonite for creativity.”
We clearly have a problem – even an addiction. Glei and Gardner, along with noted business consultant Lori Stohs of Lori Stohs Consulting Group, believe that white space is our path out of this largely self-imposed prison cell. Self-regulated white space may be our only hope of escaping our time scarcity addiction to reach our “life of more.”
First, we need to understand “white space.” In her article, Glei defines “work” and “life” whitespace as an extension of “design” white space. As stated by Glei, in design “white space” is negative space. It’s not blank because it has a purpose. It is balancing the rest of the design by throwing what is on the page into relief. The white space helps focus your visual attention. Glei goes on to suggest that you “analyze your schedule with an eye toward design.” Have you preserved enough “white space” within your daily workflow? Or does your day look extremely busy and cluttered? This also holds true for your daily life-flow. Knowing what to do is the first step. Next you have to make a deliberate effort to find your “white space.” And this won’t be any easier than expelling your other addictions.
A recent article on Intentionally Designed offers some simple tips for incorporating white space into your life:
- Learn to say no.
- Be more productive and less busy.
- Schedule time for something you enjoy.
- Give yourself grace periods.
- Don’t feel guilty about taking a break.
- Live intentionally (i.e., run your electronics, don’t let them run you).
This list is just the beginning of the steps that can lead you away from time scarcity and into an existence balanced by white space.
If you are able to make that transition successfully, Gardner promises a life that is no longer stunted, that observes what was formerly missed and that embraces authenticity by allowing vulnerability.
We partake in a lot of wellness challenges in our office, I’m going to suggest that our next challenge be a white space marathon.