Tip #766: Why We Need WhiteSpace

Take 5-15 seconds of whitespace before every important meeting, phone call or conversation to focus on the task, situation and people at-hand.” Juliet Funt

Juliet Funt is the CEO of WhiteSpace at Work. She gave a keynote address at the 2019 Training Conference promoting whitespace, which she defines as “the strategic pause taken between activities.”

WhiteSpace at Work has found that 95% of people are interrupted over 5 times per hour; 69% of workers feel highly overworked; 86% of employees agree that taking breaks would make them more productive; 61% of workers feel significant stress about the ever-present pressure of work email. And, as a result, 54% of employees are disengaged and have simply checked out.

According to Ms. Funt, there are four main thieves of productivity, which reflect assets run amok:

  1. Drive becomes overdrive
  2. Excellence becomes perfectionism
  3. Information becomes information overload
  4. Activity becomes frenzy.

On their website they state that “When starved for WhiteSpace, employees are disengaged, overwhelmed and distracted. With WhiteSpace, creativity and engagement take root and blossom into growth and focused execution.”

The idea is to make work simpler and more effective; reduce emails, meetings and reports; and achieve top-level priorities faster.

But you have to “remove before you improve.” Organizations and individuals need to adopt a reductive mindset to habitually strip away the unnecessary. In other words, it is important to “decrapify the workflow” to find the time for whitespace.

To avoid or minimize the likelihood of overdrive, ask “Is there anything I can let go by?”

To avoid or minimize the time and stress of perfectionism, ask “When is good enough good enough?”

To avoid or minimize being a victim of information overload, ask “What do I truly need to know?”

To avoid or minimize the tendency to frenzy, ask “What deserves my attention?”

On an individual level, tactical whitespace involves: scheduling time between meetings to prepare and/or reflect; controlling data and dashboards to inform without overwhelming; questioning tasks and activities to make sure they add value; and creating specifically designated time for creativity and innovation.

Now I’m not going to feel guilty when I need a breather, take a break or just sit quietly. I don’t have to be a human doing anymore (with a nod to Gloria Steinem)- it is all right and actually better than all right to be a human being! I get fresh ideas with my fresh air!

May your learning be sweet.


Related Posts

Manage Your Holiday Stress Before It Manages You!

Saturday, December 10th from 11 AM to 2:30 PM CST

Over the river to grandmother’s house- we have an idea in our mind about how the holiday should be. But planning, shopping, baking, wrapping gifts, and preparing the house all take a toll. It’s easy to become anxious, worried about creating a perfect, memorable holiday. It doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or some other winter holiday. There are traditions to keep, favorite foods to prepare, and decorations to put up. It’s exhausting.

Then there’s the actual day. You will want everyone to feel happy and get along, but you know that the stress of the day can easily result in overexcited and grumpy grandchildren and irritable adult children. You imagine that all the time and effort you put into creating a lovely day could end up being wasted and unappreciated.

Holidays are supposed to be a joyful time. Let us help you get clear about what is not worth worrying about- and give you practical coping strategies that will help you stay calm when things don’t go the way you want them to go.

Join us for this highly interactive half-day virtual workshop on how to Manage Your Holiday Stress Before It Manages You on Saturday, December 10th from 11 AM to 2:30 PM CST. Your investment is $120. We guarantee that you will have a much less stressful holiday.

It doesn’t have to be difficult to Deal with Difficult People.

In this course you will define the behavioral characteristics and underlying needs of difficult people, assess situations in which you effectively handled a difficult person, review five steps for handling difficult people Laurel & Associates now offers courses through Teachable. Learn at your own pace.
Popular Post

Share This Post