This spring has been a lesson about space: how much I have and how I choose to fill it. Earlier this spring I wrote an article about the word “busy” and why I now choose to use the word “full” instead. This shift in language is a part of my exploration of space and is intricately linked to my perception of productivity.
I intentionally have slowed down and have fewer appointments, meetings and events in my schedule.
This choice has created more space on my calendar and given me ample opportunity to judge, and in more enlightened moments, sit with my definition of productivity.
I am pondering such questions as:
- What is more valuable to me and the community I am serving: billable hours or building relationship hours?
- How much alone time do I want and need?
- What activities and people fuel my energy?
- What am I curious about and how much of my attention do I want to give to it?
The good news is my tendency to judge my productivity has decreased.
I’ve refocused my attention on listening to what is needed (for myself and others) and responding as able. This shift, I’ve discovered, requires me to be nimble and to listen diligently. I must say I like the change and am grateful that I made room to act in this way.
During this process, I have learned “to respond as able” (Doesn’t that sound more doable than “responsibility?”) still allows me to have long-term projects with defined goals. In fact, I think I do a better job of managing these long-term projects, because I am less likely to get fixated on a particular way of executing the project. I find that am more open to changing course, if needed, and less controlling about the process. (Disclaimer: there is still lots of room for improvement.)
All in all, I mostly enjoy playing with space. There are times when space feels so amorphous that I experience anxiety. My challenge is not to fall into old patterns of wanting to control my space. (It doesn’t really work anyway.) And instead give myself the space to feel what I feel and find the root, or cause, of the feeling. As you may imagine, some days I am better at this than others.
My invitation to you is to play with space.
For those of you who struggle with open-ended-ness (I just made up a word), I recommend starting small and moving slowly. Ask yourself:
What is one part of your life where you are willing to let go of having a fixed plan and want to practice listening for and then responding to what is needed?
This part of your life can be very small indeed. (In fact I hope it is.) Send me a line and let me know how it goes. I love hearing about bravery and new adventures.