We used to have three hangers on the wall of our hallway, mainly to hang the kids’ outdoor clothes. We soon realized they were not enough, as some of the clothes inevitably ended up on the floor. We added two, and yet a jacket or some outdoor trousers were still continuosly out of place. We now have seven (and a wicker basket), and you can imagine it is still tricky to walk in our hallway without stepping on a hat, a pair of gloves or a reflective vest (very much needed during the dark winters in Finland).
The fact is, we tend to fill the space we are given. In an unusual application of Parkinson’s law, if we have an additional room, we end up buying more stuff to put into it. Similarly, if we are given more and unexpected time, we probably end up wasting it with activities we would not have done otherwise (social media, anyone?); and if an organization is gifted with growth, it most likely invests it in achieving even more growth (more personnel, more offices, more complexity).
What if, instead, we would leave some empty spaces in our lives? What if the next time we have five extra minutes before the following appointment, we just sit down and think? What if we say no to that customer, or to expanding to a new market, or to launching yet another product line, so that the people that are already in can actually enjoy the moment of success?
Would that be so dramatic? Or would we be more rested, prepared and galvanized for what comes next?