Tidying away the Christmas cards recently, I thought how peaceful and restful the untouched smoothness of the snowy drifts looked, and yet I also experienced an immediate urge to step onto that unblemished surface and somehow leave a mark – a word, a shape, a construct.
Fast forward to one of the upcoming trends for websites this year – an increased use of white space.
The convergence of these two ideas leads me to wonder how we as solo operators can create for ourselves some nice clean spaces where creativity is encouraged and we can fill the space with new ideas and visions.
Before you even start your planning (if you haven’t yet – yikes! Is it the middle of January already?), here are three ways to make a white space of your own to be innovative and productive in:
1. External space
Suddenly I find my desk surrounded by detritus and debris, flotsam from past projects that have washed up around my feet.
Recycling the masses of paper, redistributing and archiving old bits has given me more thinking room. It’s a tenet of Feng Shui that the beautiful arrangement of our external surroundings can promote inner harmony and balance.
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If you like having knick-knacks, paperweights, family snaps and so on around you while you work; no problem.
But think about placing them in a different format to enable a more productive atmosphere.
Maybe a basket, shelf or corner or moving them to a different side of the desk might work. Brooks Palmer, author of Clutter Busting, maintains that clearing up is not just tidying but the creation of room for something new to enter your life.
That makes me feel even more purposeful on my trips to the transfer station!
2. Internal space
Perhaps like me and the rest of the human race, you are thinking all the time. We are always in conversation, whether with ourselves or others, and sometimes these habitual ramblings are taking up brainpower.
One way to create some mind space is to meditate. Giving yourself time to do nothing, while sometimes difficult to justify on a practical level, has been shown to be necessary for effective thought.
Another related way is to become more mindful of your thoughts and tune into them rather than trying to block them out (which in my case just makes them stronger).
Stream-of-consciousness writing – where you write down everything in your head without censorship or directed concentration, as described in The Artist’s Way – can also help get the repetition out of your head and onto the page.
Not for reading over though!
3. Scribble space
A more mundane tip is using a whiteboard. Not just for facilitating, a white rectangle in a colourful frame can be a place for lists, doodles, mind maps, reminders, arrows and daily tasks.
And at the end of the day it can be cleaned in an instant to make that fresh snowfield, all ready to be disturbed by the magnificence of tomorrow’s imaginings.