Is the constant urge to do better, be better and live better tiring you out?

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I am a time-efficiency crazy person. My aim is to pack everything I can into every moment. That’s why Fitbit is so satisfying a way to get in my exercise. It’s a device that automatically counts the number of my steps each day. It’s portable—I clip it onto my underpants and check the Fitbit app on my iPhone periodically during the day to monitor my progress.

I continue to find unique ways to increase the number of steps I take each day—again, without wasting time. Elevators work wonders for increasing my steps—especially slow, empty ones. I rigorously march in place as the floor numbers fly by.

Standing in lines—aha, that’s no longer irritating at all. I rigorously march in place there too. Of course, those in line closest to me look at me with concern and often a tad of apprehension. One kind lady asked if I was in need of a toilet. Another inquired if I was in an ardent hurry. Lines at Starbucks at any airport during peak holiday times are no longer a major irritant, but a sure-fire way of accumulating steps.

Then there’s unpacking—especially when I leave my fully-loaded suitcases downstairs and carry up piles of clothes continuously until the suitcase is bare.

My goal is 18,000 steps a day—and believe it or not, I usually reach it. If I come up a few thousand steps short as midnight approaches, I walk in a circle around the couch facing the TV and listen as I walk. Though I adhere to this crazy schedule, I find I am no longer stressed nor exhausted. Actually, I am more relaxed and productive. Weird. How can this be?

Dan Blank, who helps writers share their stories and connect with readers, is my guru. So when a recent blog post of his defined the concept of “White Space” as necessary to a writer’s well-being and productivity, I was enthralled. As Dan says, “Sleep matters. Seriously. Unscheduled time matters. Time with family or loved ones matters. Alone time matters… it’s where bad habits are negated and where we honor the need for the space in between other things in our lives.”

He refers to this time as “White Space.” I was horrified to learn that as a grown man he takes a nap every afternoon.

“What a waste,” I scoff judgmentally to myself. “A half-hour nap is worth 3,000 steps around the couch!” I learn a lot from reading Dan’s readers’ comments on what White Space does.

  • Clears the brain. • Prompts viewing a situation from a new angle. • Allows the brain to wander, naturally stimulating the imagination. • Helps us absorb our experiences and understand the world around us. • Provides balance between productivity and refueling our energy banks. • Refreshes us. • Purges mind fog. • Cuts down on quantitative measurement of our performance.

How do we get white space?

  • Yoga • Napping • Mindful breathing • Hobbies • Online game playing • Reading the comics • Goofing off • Journaling • Dancing • Lighting a scented candle • Puttering with plants • Sketching

With a jolt, I realize walking throughout my day to reach a set number of steps provides me with frequent mini-breaks. It is time that chills me out while wholly rejuvenating my creative juices. It’s my own personalized “White Space.”

“White Space” can be anything you want it to be. The most important thing is knowing what works for you and doing it. Ah. Nirvana.

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