I know; you have no idea what I’m referring to in this article’s title, do you? I’m not really trying to be coy, I just couldn’t think of any other way to speak to a learning which I had this week. As so often happens for me, the actual information wasn’t new. But the concrete experience was like none I had ever had before. Let me explain. Obviously, I’ve had an epiphany of sorts over the last week. Something that allowed me to know beyond a shadow of a doubt what was missing before, and what I’m slowly but surely getting enough of now. And, I know that if you allow yourself the opportunity to get enough of this thing, you’re life will be easier all around. Want to know what it is? It’s unscheduled time.

Think about it. Take a look at a typical week in your life. How much of it is “unscheduled time?” My guess is that there’s not very much “open space” in your calendar, daytimer, blackberry – whatever it is you use to keep yourself organized and your time accounted for. Between personal appointments, children’s activities, work meetings, projects and tasks you’re probably scheduled to the max. And that’s not including time to eat, bathe, sleep and tend to other basic essentials. Let’s face it; you’re a pretty scheduled person. I know what that’s like; my schedule can look the same way most weeks.

Last week, however, I had the opportunity to take back some time. This was possible in part because of a couple of appointment cancellations. Ordinarily what I would have done in that circumstance is fill the suddenly opened time with other tasks; goodness knows there’s always something to do. But last week, I chose to let the time and space be open. I could feel a cold coming on and, given the time that was suddenly available to me, I chose to just be. No writing, no talking, no reading, no nothing – just being. Letting my mind wander, I was amazed to experience a degree of grounding like I hadn’t felt in a long time. And I confirmed for myself something I’ve known intrinsically for a while: as human beings, it really does serve us to just “be”.

I know, this can be hard to do. But that’s the point. You don’t have to “do” anything – just “be”. For a while. It doesn’t have to be for long, it just has to be for a time. A small amount of time can revitalize you in a big way. Giving yourself time to go for a mental walk of sorts – which is what I’m really talking about when I say “just be” – fills your life with clarity like nothing else can.

For me, this is taking the 80/20 rule of time management one step further. If you’re not familiar with it, the 80/20 rule advises that you schedule 80% of your time, allowing 20% to be unscheduled so that when things take longer than anticipated (which they inevitably will) or when crises arise (which does happen from time to time) you won’t fall behind or become overwhelmed. My suggestion to you is, in addition to allowing for buffer time in this way, you also allow for “being time” – wide open space in which nothing is scheduled and nothing gets scheduled, which allows for you to just be.

Bottom-line, just like you need sufficient doses of various vitamins to function properly, you also need sufficient amounts of unscheduled time. This is time for you to just be free – not in front of the tv or cuddled up with a book, but rather time to be free of any and all tasks and agendas, allowing your mind to wander and your brain to slow down a bit. As a chronic thinker, I know this can be challenging. And at the same time, what I know for sure is that there’s a reason you’re called a human BEING as opposed to a human DOING – time to BE is far more important to your life than time to DO. So create some time to BE and watch your life improve.

Author's Bio: 

Gail Barker is a Certified Professional Life Coach and Co-Author of The Control Freak's Guide to Living Lightly. Since 2002, Gail has supported hundreds of professional women, through coaching, workshops, and her monthly ezine, in shifting their lives from chaos to calm; her coaching practice revolves around the concept of ease. For Gail, life is all about having every person experience success on their terms. To this end, she invites you to ask yourself, "whose life are you living?", and if your answer is anything other than "my own", visit Stellar Coaching and Consulting at www.stellarcc.com to get on your own path to success.