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Add Some White Space to Your Life

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By Nicole Cox, Chief Recruitment Officer

Recently, I was listening to a speaker present about the importance of the white space on pages of books we read, also known as the margins. The margins and paragraph spacing help create the pause we need for emphasis and focus when we’re reading. The same principle is true in graphic design.

Earlier this year we were creating branding boards during our annual All Staff. This is where you grab photos and words that speak to you and you glue them to a poster board. They eventually develop into a theme. When you looked around the room most of the boards were crammed full with no space between the images. Mine had an abundance of white space. Perhaps that’s because my kids are grown, my masters degree is behind me and I’m focusing on me. I determined that part of my theme was that I need white space.

When I think about my week it’s probably not unlike yours. It’s full of conference calls, personal appointments, and face-to-face meetings. Added to that mix we have emails, reports, urgent demands from our internal and external clients; running the gamut from the expected to the unexpected.

During a conference call I struggle with myself not to look at my emails, ignore the texts coming through my phone, not read the transcribed voicemails that land in my inbox, avoid instant messenger and just focus on the call I’m on. After all, the person on the other end of the line deserves my attention.

Add the holiday season in the mix and you could push yourself right into stress overload. Give yourself and the people around you a gift of margin. I know this is easier said than done at times, but with practice we can all become better at focused, more productive time.

Professional bites that might help us all create more margin:

  • Prepare for scheduled calls and meetings. An agenda will help maintain focus. Make sure to recap to ensure that everyone is aligned on the action steps and final decisions.
  • While on calls step away from distractions such as email and instant messenger. If you are on a phone other than your cell phone and your cell phone could be a distraction then turn it off or turn it on mute then turn it over so you can’t look at it.
  • A wireless headset for your desk phone can help a great deal. While on calls do something besides facing your “to do” screen called the computer. I get to work from home so I’m able to focus more on my calls if I do mindless things like fold laundry or make a bed while talking about pricing.

Multi-tasking is the enemy to white space.  Nobody can be productive 100% of the time on multiple tasks.  By adding a little white space to your life, you will funnel your chaos into more productivity, and the quality of what you are able to accomplish will improve.


Connect with Nicole on LinkedIn or Twitter.

To learn more about Decision Toolbox, contact us or check out the DT infographic.

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