Negative Space – The Art of Being Idle

Last post: Apr 11, 2014

Want to be more efficient at work? Here's a novel approach we think you should explore.

Does this situation sound familiar? You feel like you've spent the entire day on your feet, but when you look at what you've achieved you draw a big fat blank. Small business owners know this syndrome all too well. You can spend so much time flitting from meeting to meeting, doing admin or managing the staff that you don't have much time to do anything that actually makes your business any money. It doesn't take a business guru to look at how that kind of situation will end. That's why – although it can sound counter intuitive – scheduling a couple of hours each day in which you do nothing, can improve productivity.

Make the most of your brain

Off course, it's a mistake to say you're doing nothing. In this negative space, you can concentrate on many things. You can sit down and actually do some work, or you can think strategically about the direction of your business. Whatever it is, make sure it is something that can have a real and positive effect on your business. Remember – the biggest asset most small businesses have is the brain of its founder. He or she had the imagination to come up with the concept in the first place and had the flare to spot the business opportunity, so it's important that you make the most out of that asset. A ship needs a captain and if that captain spends too much time bogged down with time wasting exercises then in the long run you're costing your own business.

Find a happy place

Scheduling the time is one thing, but you'll also need to bring a space into the office in which you can retreat to do this work. Many offices include special rooms in which people can go to make sure they are not disturbed. It's important that you have a place like this somewhere in the office and that when you're in that mode people do not disturb you.

Streamlining your time

Knowing that negative space is important in your schedule is one thing. Finding a way to fit it in is quite another. Most days seem packed with lots of mundane tasks which it seems cannot be pushed back. Meetings might be tedious, but can you really do without them? The short answer to that is yes. Most meetings run on too long and pull too many people in from other more productive tasks. Some employers I've worked with have come up with ways to make meetings more productive and shorter. For example, if any plans are floated then an action must follow – an email is sent or a deadline set for the task there and then. Others have tried to reduce the time for meetings by having people stand or announcing a set time limit on how long the meeting might last. With admin there is always a chance you can find someone else to do it. As a small business owner, it can be difficult to take a step back, but this can be vital. You have to employ someone in the business or outsource the task to another provider who can do the job for you – and trust that they are professional enough to do the job effectively. If you're looking for a small business cash advance, why don't you head to the commercial lending section of our site.