Let it be on the record that the Taylor Swift hit is playing in my mind while writing this, but my concept of blank spaces has nothing to do with a long list of ex-lovers and anyone going down in flames. It’s about the gift of time.
Ever had a meeting canceled 5 minutes before it was supposed to happen? Found yourself waiting for your dinner date who is running late? Discovered that the major project you were working on didn’t take as long as you thought?
That extra time that we’re given is a blank space – something that hasn’t been pre-scheduled or spoken for. It’s a little gift from heaven, if you know what to do with it.
But what do you do with those blank spaces? How do you make them count? Isn’t it just time wasted? Consider these strategies.
Strategy #1: Next Item
Easy, just move up the next item on your to-do list. If you’re done with today’s list move on to tomorrow’s. This is a great strategy for over-achievers, structure enthusiasts or people trying to stay busy so they can stay out of trouble. Extra-strength productivity is like eliminating carbs from your diet; you feel great but it may not be particularly fun.
Strategy #2: Wishlist Item
There are things you have to do and things you want to do. Blank spaces present that opportune moment when you can pluck that juicy wishlist item from that magical to-do tree and sink your teeth into it. It doesn’t have to be anything of epic proportions. It could just be a walk, reading that fun US Weekly article a friend forwarded to you or calling that one relative or friend who still likes to actually talk on the phone.
Strategy #3: Nothing
Seriously? Yeah, seriously. Simply sit back and close your eyes or just stand up and see what happens.By doing nothing you let something come to you in the process. The one may feel like the greatest risk in terms of losing time, but you might be surprised at the rewards.
None of these are right or wrong or better or worse. You don’t have to have a consistent response every time. The idea is to choose wisely and appropriately for each scenario. And above all else, be mindful of and grateful for those blank spaces. Just like Taylor Swift says in her song, it’s magic, madness, heaven, sin. The choice is yours.