the impact of white space wrong sizeGetting enough “white space” in your day will strongly impact how much you enjoy the summer. The summer is supposed to be a time to relax, but often becomes filled with activities and obligations.  

Spending time at the pool, taking a hike, or attending a barbeque might not seem like work; but even enjoyable things take time and energy. It can become overwhelming if we do not balance them with downtime.

If you think you are too busy for white space, this may be when you need it the most. It is possible to incorporate white space in everyday life; it just takes some intention. 

Let’s look at practical things you can do this summer to make room for white space.


What is White Space?

Leo Babauta from Zen Habits explains that white space means you “remove non-essential items from your life, your workday, your surroundings, your possessions, and leave the essential items with space around them.” 

White space does not tend to happen on its own. While it is not complicated, we need to create it intentionally. Here are some ideas about how to make white space a reality in your life.



Saying ‘yes’ to one thing is saying ‘no’ to something else. There are only so many hours in the day, so think before you commit.  

Ask yourself if you have the capacity for the event. Including the time to prepare, drive, clean up, and wind down from the event. Recognize that a two-hour event may become a four-hour commitment if you consider what leads to and follows it. 

Guard your time for the things that make you feel good. It is legitimate to decline an invitation because you do not want to do something; you do not have to explain yourself. Your plans to stay home relaxing, reading, or doing a project are valid reasons to decline. 

If you have trouble declining offers, read this article's “15 Best Ways to Say No” list.



Get a clear picture of important tasks and a realistic idea of how long they will take. Base this on a steady pace, not a frantic one. Communicate this with others on your team as well as your boss. If you feel overwhelmed, ask for help and delegate tasks when appropriate. 

Minimize distractions by having boundaries with your coworkers. Don’t be afraid to tell them you are in the middle of something now but are glad to meet later in the day. 

Focus on one task at a time when you can; try not to multi-task. Keep your desk clean and clutter-free (this is not my strong point). Take short breaks throughout the day even if it’s just stretching or taking a few deep breaths. 



In your home, keep tables, counters, and other flat surfaces clear. Minimize decorations to prevent them from overwhelming your space. Make a cozy spot where you relax, and let others know when you need time there by yourself.

Get in the habit of taking everything that does not belong out of your car whenever you finish an errand. If you have a spouse or children, engage their help in keeping it clean. Keep a microfiber cloth in your car for quick wipe-downs.

Organize your screen phone by putting most of your apps in folders. Simplifying your home screen makes it easier to find what you need and eliminates the visual clutter. We view the home screen on our phones multiple times a day, so it can make a bigger difference than you make expect.




Many of us have more possessions than we need. We struggle to manage things that are supposed to make our lives better. Think about the areas in your home that are most difficult to maintain. Are there things you can pass on to make it a less stressful area? 

Consider giving away things you do not use often especially if you can borrow or rent them when needed. When making new purchases, think about the space and financial resources it will take. Delay spontaneous purchases to make sure they will bring your life value.



Gift yourself with quiet time for at least a few minutes each day. It doesn’t have to be long, but time without the constant noise can settle your thoughts. 

Manage the notifications on your phone to limit distractions throughout the day. Turn off the radio in the car for part of your drive. Don’t have the TV on as background noise; keep it off unless you are focused on watching it. 


Tips for Busy Days

Erica Layne wrote a fabulous article titled “11 Freeing Ways to Create Moments of White Space in the Midst of Everyday Life.”  

In it, she provides practical suggestions on including white space in the busiest of days. You can easily read it in just a few minutes and start using her suggestions today.


Make room for white space this week to see how much better you feel.

Dr. Jamie