I was talking the other day with Joey, a course builder with TorranceLearning. We were comparing our experiences visiting a particular country. As it turns out, we’ve both visited the same two cities there – one is an exciting, vibrant, chaotic, noisy, huge bustling metropolis – think New York City, but much hotter. It’s the country’s largest city. I have fond memories of my visits there – walking through the night market, through the park, through the larger business districts – there’s always something happening there. There’s a pulse — a rhythm. A palpable hum. All the senses are being engaged at once. But after a few hours, all the sensory messages sort of blend together and crowd each other out. It’s exhausting.

The other city my coworker and I have both been to happens to be the country’s second largest city – it boasts a major university, lots of commerce & industry, a world famous zoo…but the pace is different there. It’s slowed down, just a bit. In the midst of business and tourist traps, there are plenty of quiet spaces – white spaces – to offset the big city pace. In fact, when I think of this city, I remember the tranquil courtyard of the guest house where I stayed. There was a nice lawn, bordered by a beautiful garden, and plenty of room – and time – to reflect on my travels and adventures there.

We’ve talked a bit about the concept of white space at work. Sometimes, we refer to it as ‘soak time.’ The idea is, you can only absorb so much or do so much before you need to take some time to let all of that activity soak in and process — often in the background. I’m glad we have places for white space here. On days when the weather isn’t conducive to a walk up Main Street or a rest by the fountain in the courtyard outside our building, we’ve got a quiet zen room for taking a few minutes to ‘chill.’ And, of course, there’s also the kitchen, which is where my coworker and I had our conversation that got me thinking about this in the first place. But besides having a physical place for white space, there’s the matter of taking time to allow for it. That’s a discipline, I’ve found, that takes practice.

Do you have a ‘white space’ place? How do you make time for it?