Back to School 2018

This article also appeared in the PASA newsletter.

August… Last minute hirings, new teacher orientation, board meetings, leadership retreats, building walkthroughs, etc. The slower pace of summer is over.

My 2018-19 calendar is quickly filling up with monthly supervision meetings, building visits, professional learning, networking opportunities, community meetings/presentations, visits with state representatives, evening board and committee meetings, sporting events, concerts, and much more. As the calendar fills up, the breathing space disintegrates.

In a Big Speak Talk, Juliet Funt (CEO of WhiteSpace at Work) jokes our time is under attack by email, meetings and ever-present smartphones. She believes opportunities for innovation and creativity are withering away due to how busy we are on a daily basis.

How do we build time into our busy days for intentional reflection and sustained thinking? How do we carve out time for innovation? How do we make time to create and implement action steps after professional learning or brainstorming session?

Enter… white space.

White space (as defined by WhiteSpace at Work) is “a strategic pause taken between activities. These thoughtful pauses laced through the busyness of the workday are the oxygen that allows everything else to catch fire. WhiteSpace can be recuperative; to reboot your exhausted brain and body. It can also be constructive; this is time spent on driving business results through introspection, strategy and big picture thinking.”

In Harvard Business Review article – The Space Intentionally Left White, Sabina Nawaz wrote,” A pause to breathe, some white space, gives you the opportunity to think beyond the current problems and issues.”

How can we better protect some of our time to ensure we have white space?

Sabina suggests several tips for finding white space.
Set aside two hours per week and block it out.
Turn off the noise – meaning avoid other distractions such as email
Find the space that is right for you. Is it in the office, but away from electronics? Do you need to take a walk? Do you use your computer, but without notifications?
Keep your white space dates just like you would keep other appointments.

Learn more by listening to Juliet Funt as she shares many ideas about productivity on an episode of Talent Grow podcast. Access the podcast at In the episode she defines whitespace, shares ideas about “thieves of productivity, practices and techniques for creating and using white space, and much more!

After I listened to the podcast and researched the WhiteSpace at Word site to learn about some of the core content, I registered for a free online course. You can access the course at

Don’t worry, I found time in my schedule to complete the course!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s