The Power of White Space in Your Calendar


Being busy is often a badge of honor, and one we equate with being successful. Demands on our time never stop. Our schedules are full of meetings, appointments, and tasks, leaving little room for anything else. But what if I told you that leaving some “white space” in your calendar could actually make you more productive and happier?

White space is simply the scheduled, unscheduled time in your day when you have no appointments, meetings, or tasks to complete. Literally, on your calendar, blocks of time that have nothing written in them and so it appears white. It’s the time when you can do whatever you want, whether that’s taking a walk, reading a book, or simply relaxing. White space is not the time to create more to-do lists, make phone calls, check social media, or do small chores. It’s literally time when there’s nothing planned.

Here are some benefits of having white space in your calendar:

Increased creativity and problem-solving

When we’re constantly busy, our minds don’t have the chance to wander and explore new ideas. White space gives us the opportunity to think creatively and solve problems in new ways. It’s during these unscheduled moments that we can come up with our best ideas. Have you noticed that you come up with great ideas in the shower or on a walk? It’s because you’re not trying to come up with your best ideas. Your shower created the space for the brain to relax and for the idea to present itself. If the idea of having nothing to do makes you anxious or even feeling guilty, it may be because we’ve been conditioned to use busyness as a way to validate our purpose and perhaps to not feel our emotions.  

Reduced stress and burnout

When we’re constantly on the go, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and burned out. White space gives us the chance to ask ourselves, what would feel good for my mind and body right now? Perhaps it’s exercising or taking a walk. But it could be lying in the sun, doing a puzzle, dancing to your favorite music, or trying a new recipe. This is different from the exercise that you’ve already scheduled. It’s possible that your workout may also provide the same benefits, but white space is about openness and choice. Rest and relaxation are essential for our mental and physical well-being. 

Improved time management

When we are busy or feel overwhelmed, many moms resort to making to-do lists. And, while it feels good to get it out of your head and on paper, that never-ending laundry list of items can actually result in procrastination. This doesn’t mean you should never write down your tasks or create a plan for your day. It just means that you should approach your to-do list in a more mindful and intentional way. Instead of trying to cram as many tasks as possible into your day, focus on the most important ones and give yourself permission to let go of the rest. When we include white space in our daily plan, we’re forced to be more intentional with our time. 

As a recovering chronic calenderer, I hope you will try leaving some white space in your calendar and see what it does for your well-being and productivity. By allowing ourselves some unscheduled time, we can recharge, think creatively, and ultimately be more productive in the long run. Try it for yourself and see how you feel. And, then schedule some white space for your kids. Are their “calendars” so jammed packed that they, too, need white space?

Share with us in the comments below how you are doing with creating white space in your day. 


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