I've read a number of books recently which have helped me add white space to my life (A good one is The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst).
What is white space? The phrase is traditionally used in a design setting. As a former design student, I can't help but make this reference. White space refers to space (can be any color), that is absent of design elements.
I'm becoming of a believer that less is so often more. Less obligations (from favors to social commitments), less worry, less home decor, less cramped closet space. At least for me, this added white space has meant more life enjoyment.
Favors and Social Commitments: If you truly don’t have the time or energy, don’t do it. The awkward moment you have declining will last much less than the time you would have had to devote to the favor or event. And if the person really cares about you, they will understand and support, and maybe even respect your decision.
Favors: I remember one time in college an aquintance friend of my procrastinated and did not study for a final exam. She approached me, asking to help her cram for the final. I apologized, and told her I did not have the time, as I had a paper due in another class. I braced myself, expecting her to get mad. Instead, she got a big smile on her face, and said something to the effect of, “You know what, I have a lot of respect for that. Thank you for being honest.”
Social Commitments: This last year I had RSVP’d “yes” to go to a baby shower. A week or so before the shower our dog got a devastating diagnosis. I knew there was no point in me going because I was feeling really down, and quite frankly didn’t want to be fake happy — or worse — have to explain to everyone what was wrong with my dog. I let my friend know and she completely understood.
Less Worry: I am definitely still working on this one, but a great book to read to help in this category is Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado.
Less Home Decor: Sometimes its hard getting rid of sentimental items - Photographs, knick knacks, artwork, etc. What I’ve done to help combat this is make a photostream for just myself called, “Memorabilia”. I’ve also found that once you get going on getting rid of stuff, it is almost addicting and I feel so much lighter and even happier.
Less Cramped Closet: I do my best to abide by the one in one out rule. If I buy something, I give something away. Sometimes if it is a more special article of clothing, I will a picture and upload it to the above mentioned photostream.
IRONY: I love patterns, whether it be designing my own (hence the borders on this post), or admiring others’ art. And I admit patterns are quite possibly are the antithesis of white space :)