Creating Space in Your Business for Better Stewardship
What comes to mind when you conceptualize space? I don’t mean outer space in this context, but just space in your experience and environment.
Space is emptiness, isn’t it? But it’s more than that. Space is emptiness with purpose. The space between one object and another may provide important information in physics, construction, or furniture arrangement. The cargo space in a vehicle tells you what it can realistically hold despite your hopes for twice that amount. The amount of space you require between yourself and others is vital to your well-being, and it varies by relationship or circumstances. In music, the spaces between notes are called rests, and they are required for breathing and repositioning. As a vocalist, I can share that there are never quite enough of them! But those rests are also a necessary part of the composition, creating power for the next sound by way of contrast.
Over the past two years, we’ve come to see the concept of space in all new ways. We needed physical space from other people for health reasons, but we cut that space by gathering virtually. We are suddenly aware of how much space is above our heads in a public building and whether it’s enough to properly ventilate the air. We may be finding our homes quite short on space at this point, or recognizing that the space we have cannot be properly purposed. With fewer places to go, we’ve also had space as it relates to time. Where there was once a 40 minute commute or a commitment to attend, there is time (or space) to do something else.
We need space in our lives and in our businesses. Like in music, space is rest, a chance to breathe and reposition while creating power for what comes next. There is a perpetual business myth that all productivity must focus on revenue generation. Therefore, if you find yourself with unoccupied space or time, you should be making a sales call, following up on a proposal, posting to social media, or answering the phone. The false belief in this is that space makes waste. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Of course, it is possible to be wasteful with space or time. But in business, that often happens by acting on the false belief I just mentioned. Doing for the sake of being busy, rather than making space for the sake of resting so that you can breathe, reposition, and create power for the next move. Space makes time for the good work – the thinking, simplifying, planning, and goal setting. Space is your time. Space allows you to exercise stewardship over your business.
Stewardship, according to Merriam-Webster, is the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.
Can you be a careful and responsible manager of your business when you never stop to rest? Are you running your business in a continual state of near burnout? Can you make good decisions under constant stress? The answer to that last question is no, and I have the science to prove it. You’ve heard of the fight or flight concept, I’m sure. In situations of high stress, blood flow redirects from the brain to the systems that support your need to either flee (legs) or fight (arms). Under the reduced blood flowing to your brain, your cerebral cortex specifically, you are less equipped to think clearly and make thoughtful decisions. Instead, you’ll act impulsively in order to get some temporary relief, but not rest.
As the steward of your business, it is your responsibility to reclaim blood flow to your brain so that you can make good decisions. You do this by making space. Space to breathe, reposition, and create power.
What are some ways I encourage clients to make space?
- Incorporate time blocking to stay organized, prioritize types of work, and schedule downtime
- Turn off your phone and close your email app during times of concentrated work activity
- Say no to meetings, activities, and commitments that are disruptive to your schedule
- Take personal time off (PTO) from work and hold yourself accountable to it
- Eat breakfast and lunch, exercise, and take small mental breaks – especially if you no longer have any drive time
- Automate or outsource repetitive processes to reduce time spent on busy work
- Schedule time for yourself as you would a client, which means giving yourself and your business undivided attention
When you give yourself space – emptiness with purpose – in your business, you are practicing good stewardship. When you are a good steward of your business, you will reap the rewards of your careful and responsible management. Business owners who make space to breathe, reposition, and create power will realize better productivity, simpler sales cycles, less stress, and better work-life balance.
If creating space sounds like a lofty goal, but too far out of reach, I want to talk with you. Often, the first step to giving yourself space is asking for help to find it. The Walters Group works with business owners who feel isolated and overwhelmed to help them find rest so that they can gain Momentum. Contact us for your initial consultation.