Windows of non-stimulation

Continuing the connections between Scott Belsky and Cilla Snowball…

“A crammed diary controls you and gives you no time to write, plan or think clearly.”

Cilla Snowball

diarySimilarly Scott Belsky talks about the need to find windows of non-stimulation to focus on deep thinking and the tasks that matter most. He goes on to describe this ability to find space as a skill.

I like the idea of this being a skill. This is a skill that requires self-discipline. Much has been written about the benefit of keeping white space in your diary. But I think that white space is dangerous. I prefer to book appointments with myself (which happen to be coloured green). This protects time, and in an organisational context, people looking at my calendar can see that I have a commitment. I colour code meetings with other people in yellow. I function best when I can glance at my diary and see that it is predominantly green.

For those of us who have a personal assistant, this is a skill that also requires teamwork. We need to have a shared understanding of priorities, of when rules can be broken, and of how to resist pressure from others who want to cram our diaries for their own agendas. Communication, trial and error is essential to getting this right.

Of course, the alternative approach is to allow your diary to be filled with meetings, do busywork and let others do the thinking. As you will have gathered by now, this is not my preferred way of working.

(Image from


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 )

Google+ photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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


Connecting to %s