With an overwhelming amount of choices each day, we have to learn to choose wisely and say no to things that don't add joy to our lives. We have to choose to schedule our days based on what is most important to us and stop there. I often feel like I can always fit in one more thing, and find myself thinking "what can I do next" whenever I am left with a spare moment. But friends, we don't have to live like this. We can make time for rest, joy, and white space. We can live with intentional organization and schedule our lives so that we make time for ourselves and make time to do nothing. Being busy does not mean you are being productive and we have to break down that wall so we can live more freely and choose to do what matters most.
In an effort to help us all simplify our lives and make room for white space, I put together a list of things that have helped me move more in that direction. It is a process that won't happen overnight, but something worth striving for. I hope these tips can help you make more breathing room in your schedule too.
Make time for rest
We will never be able to find more time for white space in our lives if we don't make time for it. If you always fill your life with things to do and a busy schedule, there won't be any time left for resting and enjoying life. You have to make it a priority in your life so that you are more likely to make time for white space. If it is always at the bottom of your list, you will probably never get to it and you will quickly find yourself feeling exhausted and overworked.
Learn to say no
This is a big lesson I have learned lately, and one that has honestly changed my life. I have mentioned before how much I love Lysa terkuerst's book, The Best Yes, and the amazing life lesson that comes from reading it, but learning to say no to things that aren't your best yes will help clarify your life. I used to be one that would say yes to everyone and everything because I simply did not want to disappoint anyone. But learning to say no to some things has opened up so much space in my life for things that are better for me in the long run.
Be more productive and less busy
I am sure you have heard this saying before, but being busy doesn't mean that you are being productive. Here is the perfect example for you: when I used to say yes to everything, my plate was quickly full of random projects, activities, and responsibilities. Some that I enjoyed and others that I dreaded. Needlesstosay, I was always busy. But that "busy" was not always things that were important to me or best for my life. I felt like I was doing a lot but not getting a lot done. That's exactly what happens to a lot of us and how we end up just being busy with tasks that are getting us nowhere instead of being productive by doing fewer things with more intention.
Schedule time for something you enjoy
Do something that you enjoy regularly by putting it in your schedule. If you schedule time specifically for that activity, you will feel less guilty about actually doing it. This goes back to making room for white space. By intentionally planning to have breathing room in your schedule, it will become a natural part of your life and eventually be something that you automatically do.
Give yourself grace
Don't feel guilty about resting. By giving yourself grace for those days when you just want to do something for yourself, spend time with friends or family, or even just watch a TV show, you will enjoy your time more. You will feel less guilty during your down time and be able to benefit more from it. Grace is a big word in my life because I believe it is necessary to live a life of joy. You can't always be perfect or play Superwoman, so giving yourself grace for moments of rest will go a long way to bringing you more joy and happiness. It takes the stress off of the ideal perfection that we all strive for and allows us to be human.
Simplify your life
Less really is more sometimes, especially when it comes to your life. By simplifying your life, you end up with less to do, less to manage and take care of, and more time for things that bring you joy. More white space literally and figuratively. I am all about simplified living because I know that it helps us focus on what is really important. Over the last several years, I have worked hard to keep my life simple and it truly makes a difference in my overall mood and happiness. Clutter in your space and in your life can bring on so much unnecessary stress that takes away from what matters most.
Be intentional about how you plan your day and how you live your life. You have the power to choose what you do with your time. We all have responsibilities that just can't be avoided. But we all have the ability to live with intention so that we spend less time doing meaningless tasks and have more time for the things that matter. It's all about how we choose to live and what we make important in our lives. Intentional living is the best way to cut out all the extra stuff that we don't really need in our lives anyway.