Time is a precious resource that we fill up with activities. If there's an opening in our schedule, we have little difficulty finding something to fill that space. But our full attention isn't available at each waking moment, it needs time to recharge like our bodies. Much like a rise or fall in income affects one's lifestyle, a change in free time is spent as quickly as it appears.
There is another way to view our daily activity flow, and that is to concentrate on the negative spaces. Free or open time is a vital component of our well being. We can apply the popular design pattern of minimalism to our schedules in a healthy and focused way. It's a simple pruning pattern to create negative space:
- What do I most need to accomplish today, and how does that affect my long term goal?
- What is the least necessary activity I have planned today? Cancel it. Repeat until you get to an activity that you must do
- What do I most need to accomplish this week or month?
- What do I have planned this week or month that isn't necessary or helping to achieve my long term goal? Cancel it. Note: Vacation and leisure are not separable from long term health so keep those on the calendar :)
- Don't immediately try to fill up every opening in your schedule. Respect the negative space
Creating Negative Spaces Enhances Your Presence When Active
Now for the payoff. Reap the rewards of carefully protecting your open time, by having a much greater focus and presence when it is most vital. As you improve awareness of the value of your activities, the balance and flow of active and open time will become tools at your disposal. You can measure precisely how much negative time you need before an important event or moment to be unstoppable.