I’ve been thinking a lot about spaciousness. The word “spaciousness” is often used to describe a physical space. Rather than a physical space, I want to experience having more space in the way I feel as I do my work and live my life. Recently, I’ve noticed a low-level anxiety about being rushed, not having enough time, or being able to keep up. It’s like I’m trying to stuff twenty pounds of clothes into a suitcase that holds ten. I struggle to completely turn off when I can, feeling restless and continually pulled toward email, my phone, or some other to-do. My clients, friends, and colleagues are describing a similar experience. They talk about their desire for “work/life balance” but simultaneously can’t see how to make any lasting change. Because there is no magic solution, I must adapt how I am thinking about time, achievement, and balance.
The truth is that I am the biggest obstacle to the feeling of spaciousness I’m looking for, mostly because of habits that I’ve developed over many years. Habits about the way I think about my time and habits of always putting work before everything else. It’s time to adopt a more experimental mindset to figure this out. Here’s a list of my current experiments:
- Carving out significant “open space” on my calendar to think, reflect, and do focused work, which allows me to deliver my best to myself and others. This requires getting comfortable with saying no.
- Setting clear boundaries about my time and noticing when my pattern of attaching my self-worth and identity to the amount of work I can do is at play.
- Giving myself permission to spend time on what matters most versus on what I (or others) think I should do.
- Creating an environment that minimizes distraction.