Have you made space yet this year? It’s not too late!
Just the thought of it is appealing: Space.
Thinking of creating “more space” in your worklife may provoke dreams of no work at all, or a vacation, or sitting at a cafe with a nice cup of tea while you plug away on your laptop. There can be time for all of those things, yet it’s easy to make space during those times we set aside. What does it look like in the day-to-day, M-F, to carve out time for yourself, your family, your work, and those around you?
Our team came together to give you the gift of time: recipes for how you can allow yourself the space to think, dream, create, and be fully present this year. And as you might imagine, it all starts with the decisions you make. Here are some key ideals we’ve tried to instill in our teams, and encourage you and your colleagues to consider!
1 Mornings to Fuel the Day
In the past few months we’ve developed a routine that has been life-changing, and it’s all about how we start our workday. Nutritionists believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day; we believe morning itself is the most important time of day.
Make time for it.
If the day starts at a race-pace, without any peace, the rest of the day may be setup to follow as such. Instead, grab a morning “special place” (comfy chairs and/or fuzzy blankets highly recommended) and something tasty to drink. Our personal favorite is a caramel-vanilla latte with almond milk. For extra relaxation, add a muffin or doughnut.
Some helpful tips for your morning routine may include getting to bed early the night before. Or preparing your lunch, your outfit, and your packed bag the night before.
This prep work will allow you to Make Space in the morning, so that getting to work can be pleasant not frantic.
Another set of tips may include setting inspirational or soothing music to be the first thing you hear in the morning, and establishing a time you consistently commit to silence, or prayer, or meditation.
Thoughts are powerful, so starting the day with the right ones will add positive power to the day.
Just can’t get enough morning inspiration? Add a workout. Follow that coffee and prayer time with a jog through wooded trails near your home! Or another option is to chase the kids or puppy around the house. You’ll all get exercise and have fun!
And fun is a good way to start the day.
2 A Lunch Break Isn’t Just for Eating
Lunch breaks are meant to be just that: breaks.
Eating a sandwich while answering emails on your phone, returning text messages, or watching YouTube videos, isn’t exactly the same as taking a break. Fuel not just your body but your soul, mid-way through the day. You’ll thank yourself, and others in your life will thank you too.
Even 20 minutes in the middle of the day spent focusing on yourself and your spirit will be worth it.
Reading an inspirational devotional, listening to relaxing music, or just sitting and thinking about things you are thankful for. These are good ways to make a lunchbreak become an actual break.
Give yourself the gift of rest, time, and grace that you will need to be consistent and focused the rest of the afternoon, and to be an excellent co-worker, friend, spouse, parent, etc.
When we are tired, all we can give to others is our tired self. It’s better to pour inspiration into those around us rather than exhaustion.
Fill up and pour out! And then fill up some more!
3 Every Evening Should Not Be Accounted For
If it’s Sunday night and you’re looking ahead to the calendar for the week, all of your evenings should not be accounted for. If they are, that’s called being over-scheduled!
What if something unexpected comes up?
What if you end up having a long day at work and need that restful evening, or a loved one needs you in some way? We won’t be able to be there for ourselves or for others, if we already have plans. Making Space in our evenings for the unexpected can be important.
Some activities that are possible if you aren’t over-scheduled include but are not limited to:
Meeting with a neighbor going through something challenging to encourage them, spending time with a loved one to ensure the relationship stays a priority, creating something through artistic interests or musical abilities, playing a sport or going for a jog, journaling or writing, watching a funny movie or a show that is uplifting, or slowly enjoying a magazine even if you’re just looking at the pictures.
Being filled up isn’t just for the purpose of pouring out to others. It’s a way of loving ourselves. The phrase is “love your neighbor as yourself” (not instead of yourself).
4 Welcome Wednesdays & Freedom Fridays
There are two times a week when we make a conscious effort to invest and to receive: Wednesdays and Fridays.
On Wednesday mornings, 9am-12pm, there are no meetings. Yup, you heard right; not any meetings. Zero. And the reason is simple.
If we don’t have time in our week meant to Make Space and serve our own goals and objectives, we end up spending all of our time responding to others. We spend our entire day on the treadmill of meetings and emails.
It’s a great idea to take some time mid-week to take a step back, move some of your own milestones forward, and to do some weekly/monthly/annual planning. Previously we focused on high-level goals and objectives as a team only on a quarterly basis, and found that wasn’t enough.
Now every week there is time to look behind, look around, and look ahead. It makes our daily tasks more focused, and fit into a strategic and thoughtful framework.
TGIF. That can be a real thing!
Fridays you won’t find us in the office. You’ll find us off in a place where we have Made Space for ourselves; be that in nature or at a coffee shop or with a notebook. Fridays are the days we invest into ourselves personally and professionally; we read blogs, learn more, think of how we can be better at what we do and who we are, and grow in something new.
Having a dedicated time set aside to step back from the tasks, and look up and around, is wisdom.
5 Relationships & Routines to Fill the Quadrants
It’s said that everyone has four quadrants in their lives: emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental.
So let’s find people, things, and places to fuel our quadrants and keep them healthy! For example, watching a funny show that is educational, may fill up your emotional and mental quadrants at the same time. Taking a boxing class with a friend, may fill up the physical and emotional quadrants simultaneously. Learning more about God may fill your spiritual and mental quadrants at once.
Keep an eye on those quadrants. All four. They can easily become off-balanced! It’s common that we would be naturally drawn toward one or two of them, and tend to somewhat neglect those we are not as comfortable in. But they are all important. Keeping ourselves healthy and balanced comes not through filling up our schedules, but through Making Space.
Space is important. It’s attractive. There’s a reason that a blank canvas is inspiring. Or that an empty field of snow begs us to run through it. We are drawn to the simple, the peaceful, and the real.
And space can be the friend that creates all of those things for us: but we must make decisions that allow it to co-exist in our lives.