#159 How Much Space Do I Create in My Diary?
#159 How Much Space Do I Create in My Diary?

The productivity revolution has been built around one key idea – “getting more done”. It has been less focused on “Why are we doing what we are doing?” And that feels like a key opening question.

Everything we do fits into a larger picture.

What then is that larger picture?

What is the doing trying to accomplish?

It is only by balancing the doing with allowing ourselves time to do nothing that we slow down enough to access our inner wisdom and ask ourselves these deeper questions.

There are a host of reasons as to why putting empty space in the diary is positive, particularly in terms of creativity and overall wellbeing, but justifying them feels like feeding into the productivity narrative. As if even doing nothing has to somehow serve productivity. What if it were an end to itself?

I have been scheduling quiet time in the diary for some time now. Initially, it felt a little strange, but I quickly embraced the freedom it offers. The key point is that it requires us to say “No” to anything that is trying to interrupt and distract or wiggle into this space through some claim of urgency or importance. In short, what is so important that you don’t have time to do nothing?

This quiet time comes with different textures. There is quiet time in the office. This is time where I have nothing planned and I simply ask myself “What is important now?” and focus on that one thing I feel is calling in that moment. That may well be time in the hammock listening to the world around me or some other form of meditation. It may also turn into some form of doing as my brain starts getting creative.

There is also time out in nature where I go swimming or surfing. I typically do this on Wednesdays as it neatly splits the working week and creates a freshness for Thursday and Friday. My work is about freshness, about noticing, about presence. It is creative in nature so being addled and tired are the true enemies.

So, as you flip through your diary or glance at your digital calendar, ask yourself: Where is my empty space?

Questions in the Image:

  • How much space do I create in my diary?
  • What is so important that I don’t have time to do nothing?

Want to Read More Around This Topic?

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown (link to Amazon.co.uk). This book emphasizes the importance of focusing on what truly matters in order to achieve meaningful results across your world. It provides actionable advice on how to eliminate distractions and prioritise tasks that align with your long-term vision.

Nurturing Curiosity – Daily Practice: This is part of the Nurturing Curiosity series of tools, insights and questions designed to help nurture curiosity as part of our daily practice. In point of fact, every interaction we have is an opportunity to question what we are observing and how we and others are seeing the world. Also remember that questions come in many forms throughout our day. I am writing this on a Wednesday so am off to the beach shortly with my son. This is special time and I wonder where else I might switch what I do to create more special moments?

About Tom O’Leary

I coach, mentor and teach leaders who are shaping a brighter future.

Leadership can be lonely, the challenges daunting, and the workload overwhelming. I help leaders feel heard, gain clarity, take action, build confidence and thrive! Leaders matter. Their work matters. We need them at their best!

The first step? Becoming more curious. I see curiosity as the key, allowing us to unlock deep insights that directly enhance our ability to think, act and lead.

This means spending time contemplating what might be possible so that when we take action, we can bring all our energy and power to bear.

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