How to create more space in your day

One of the best things about facilitating our Thriving Life Wellness Retreats is seeing the unraveling of the participants. We can only be excited for them as they make empowered decisions largely because of the space they found during our retreat.

Some beautiful beginnings we have seen include a wedding proposal, marital reconciliations, several people leaving jobs they hate, migrations, and multiple participants finally having the courage to end unsatisfying relationships. Big, life-changing decisions.

Yet, there was really no magic involved to help them find clarity – just a safe space during the retreat for what is real, meaningful, and true to arise. It is a joy to hold space and support people as they work on their thriving lives.

Of course, due to the pandemic, our scheduled wellness retreats for this year in Bali and The Philippines have been cancelled. Nevertheless, we can still create our own space everyday to invite more focus, calm, and ease into our lives.

It takes more conscious work but it is nothing unmanageable. Below are some tips to practice and create more space in your day, every day.

1. Place your phone on flight mode at bedtime.

This ensures we keep the morning to ourselves. We have agency on how we want to wake up. Our energy is protected. We are present. Otherwise, our phone holds us first thing and there are definitely better ways to spend the morning than catching up on the news, reading correspondence, and seeing updates on our feeds, don’t you agree?

2. Spend your time doing things that you love.

Being more intentional with how we spend our time will help us create more space for things that we want to do. Not what we need to do. Not what others want us to do.

Nothing drains energy faster than allowing others to take over our day. We only have a limited number of time and energy. Let us decide how to use it, instead of letting others decide for us. 

3. Maximize small pockets of time.

Of course, some days are busy. Still, there is no excuse not to invest in what brings us joy. A simple trick to create more space is to maximize small pockets of time. Never underestimate the power of 10 minutes!

In this short time, we can have a warm cup of tea, give our backs a good stretch, work a good sweat, pick up five new foreign language vocabulary, cook a healthy meal, and even walk the dog. A small dose of quality time makes all the difference in the world.

4. Minimize distractions.

Out of the 50 things we do every day, how many add value? We will instantly create more space when we stop investing our time on random things. An easy way to start is turning off social media notifications. Is there really any urgency for all of these? Isn’t it infinitely better when we decide when to check our accounts at a dedicated time for leisure or connecting online?

5. Practice ‘the pause’.

The best time to relax, according to English author Sydney Harris, is when we do not have time for it. As our days roll on, let us consciously find pockets of time to take a break and pause.

We are not machines and forgetting that leaves us, often, running on empty. The sooner we see the value of rest and recovery, the faster taking pauses will come naturally to us. We deserve to pause. We function better after a pause. It is an instant reset that helps everyone.

6. Have boundaries.

This is a big one for me. I like helping others, but without thought, I fill another’s cup by depleting my own. We must learn how to balance holding space for others and giving ourselves space. There is nothing selfish about alone-time and self-care. In fact, we can give more when we have more.

7. Institutionalize self-care every day.

It is not just a weekend thing. We do so much daily that recovery must happen daily, too. This is not about having time – nobody has the time. We have to make time. This is why it is called creating space and not finding space.

See what works for you. Do you have to wake up 30 minutes earlier to enjoy some quiet time by yourself or practice a short yoga class in the morning? Or is it better to dedicate an hour before bed to take care of yourself?

Adding self-care to our schedule makes a big difference. It is not another task to do, but one that allows us to keep completing all our tasks.

8. Budget for chaos.

Despite our best intentions to create space and be intentional with our days, things just fall apart sometimes. And that is okay. Let us take it as an opportunity to improve and a lesson to let go of what does not serve us.

We can only flow with what the day ultimately brings. It is good when we create space for nice things during our day, but we must also budget for chaos, because what is life without it?

How do you create more space in your day?

104 thoughts on “How to create more space in your day

          1. I’m a new mom and I had to return to work for the first time during the pandemic. It was a big challenge managing a baby while working from home.

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            1. Wow. You are the definition of working with home! I respect your strength and wish you can balance it all. I understand how challenging it can be, but I hope you still find plenty of time to take care of you and have the support of your husband, too.

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              1. Thanks for the words of encouragement 💜
                I do try to make time for self care. Blogging has been one of those. Some days are better than others. But I’m learning and getting better at the balancing every day.

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      1. Not really, working from home has made it worse, but that more because of the financial impact of Covid than anything else. The corporate world is very abusive towards its employees who are just money making devices.

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  1. I’m a bit too worried about putting my phone on airplane mode in case there’s an emergency, but I have it on do not disturb mode so if someone calls more than once I get the call. As for budgeting for chaos, it’s definitely something I haven’t done all my life and keep getting bitten in the behind because of it lol

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    1. Many women shared the same sentiment in the comments. I feel we must do what is right for us. We can all create space in our days in ways that will serve our needs. I laughed at how politely you added the last part. I am the same. Need reminding way too frequently. I read a guest post of yours btw, and you are insightful as always!

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      1. Hahaha yeah so I don’t swear but that’s the only phrase I could think of that came close 🙈 also, you’ve just been nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award 😉

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  2. Great post! I totally agree with shutting down the phone at night! I have my phone set on do not disturb each night, through the early morning. My husband and I try to maintain our schedule, so we come in and shut everything down to spend some quality time together with no distractions.

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    1. How thoughtful! Really appreciate how you make time for each other without distractions. No wonder your relationship is going strong! Hve you always done this or something led you to the realization that it is best to do it this way?

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      1. We’ve been together for a while and have gone through our ups and downs, and we’ve been raising kids since the beginning of our marriage. It’s imperative that we have our time together, so we can continue to build our relationship. We’ve always made sure we took time out for each other, but the more we’ve survived, the more we see how necessary our time alone is!

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        1. I really admire how you are looking after your relationship. Thank you for the inspiration today. It is really a balance, no? Of time with family, with partner, and self. I suppose this is the only way everything grows. An imbalance would be unhealthy.

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            1. However, it is common to see couples stop making an effort after marriage, then they wonder what happened! I always get sad when marriage turns into mutual degradation. It has so much potential, especially when growing it with someone you love.

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  3. I used to put my phone on Do Not Disturb mode until the one time my daughter was in a car accident and I didn’t get the call until a bit after. She was okay, thank God. Then losing my son…Now I am afraid to not have my phone.

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    1. Wow, that is scary. I am glad she was okay. Sorry to hear about your son. I understand how the phone is an essential in this way. Fortunately, there are many ways to create space! Just breathing consciously for a minute helps a lot.

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      1. I worry about so many things.

        I remember onboarding someone at dawn because I saw that I have a pending workflow entry at 4 am.

        And yes, I have a thing about emergencies. I am the one who rollcalls whenever there’s an explosion or something sembling a loud boom that could just be our neighbor banging their door… I get so angry when no one answers my incessant calls.

        But if I ever miss their “one” call — they’d declare a national emergency.

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          1. We have to really control this as it’s super unhealthy. I have improved a lot compared to how I was back then.

            And you know, my not having an FB is quite a leap! I mean, I used to be so OCD with the notifs and now! I can live without it!

            I bet I can do things little by little… Or perhaps it’s because I am getting older!

            Take care! We asthmatics should really have other side effects. It’s like everything leads to our inability to breathe which is like, the worst right? Good you are appeased most of the time.

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            1. Yes, I feel your attitude shift will help you a lot and happy to hear you are seeing improvements. And I agree, always a big difference without Facebook. Gave up on it for years and never missed it. Thanks, you, too. I wish I am appeased most times. Haha! I get the same anxiety as everyone. I suppose what helps me is I allow my anxiety to happen and breathe. It is a challenge, as you know, but all we can do is try our best.

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              1. I couldn’t imagine you being anxious.. I mean, I know how worrisome your family’s jobs are especially at this time but I thought it was situational… I didn’t realize you do get such anxieties as well.. you seemed super balanced..

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                1. There was a participant on one of our retreats who almost fell from her chair when she learned about my background as a muay thai athlete. She could not imagine me like that. It was funny. I believe we are not so different from each other. I would even go as far as saying I practice all these wellness stuff because I need it a lot. Haha! There is a funny shirt that says I do yoga because I am psycho without it. Haha. I feel we are all working towards a grounded, balanced life and the difference is our experience is uniquely our own and we might be at different points but still share the same path.

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                  1. Hahaha… if I had know you from the retreats, I would have reacted the same way 😀 and although we’ve been talking for some time about our lives, sharing our concerns sometimes– it’s still hard to shake my first impression of you, that you are truly super balanced but you are actually right! Most people (that I know) who attend wellness retreats weren’t necessarily well-balanced and peaceful people by nature.. most of the time, they are the ones who seek inner peace and serenity and with that, they try to channel their eat, pray, love moments thru programs… and they would testify as to how differently they feel right after and they kept coming back…

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                    1. It would be fun to hang out together when the world opens again. I always enjoy your stories, especially your comments when you take your time to speak with me. And I agree, there is a certain kind of person that attends a wellness retreat – the one seeking balance or space or growth or clarity. Ours is not a woo woo retreat though. Mainly, it is at the center of science and spirituality. Very practical. Sometimes, we have a participant who just wants to have a nice time, too, but most are seekers and it is always a joy to see them progress during and after the program.

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                    2. I literally laughed when you said woo woo retreat –because wellness retreats do really send that impression especially to those who weren’t so well-informed like me. Imagine me discovering you through tiny house tag. I was never interested in wellness, health, yoga, but I love tiny houses, minimalism, and dreams of living a sustainable life… — so I met you through a tag! I feel it’s like something one can describe as meet cute (among friends)… you’ve opened my mind into so many things and I really enjoyed meeting you and look forward to the time I’d meet you in person. 😀 I hope I am not the most imbalanced person you’d get to meet.

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                    3. Yes, it would be cute and we would have fun when we meet, I am sure. And we are all a bit wonky in places, which is why we continue to work on our enduring vulnerabilities, right? Happy that our posts helped you create new perspectives! This alone makes it all worth it. Our retreats are focused on assisting participants to create new perspectives, too. This way, they are able to make specific and targeted changes that will help them build a life they love. As you know, no matter how many crystals we have or sages we burn, if we do not change our actions and intentions, nothing will happen. But if we reflect, make mindful changes, and do things that we can stand behind, our daily lives will bring us more joy. There is a lot we can control on how our lives go. It is all about how we approach it. I suppose this explanation alone is far from woo woo already. Haha!

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  4. I loved this! Just in the last couple of days I’ve been making a real effort to start trying to leave my phone to one side and it’s amazing just the difference one day made, so definitely something I’ll be doing moving forward. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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  5. I love the idea of switching from “finding space” to “creating space”! I think that self care has always been optional for me– only when I think there’s time or if I’m not needed (but of course moms are always needed 🤣)

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      1. Journaling, yes. I read all the time, and though I love it sometimes it also feels like work because of blog tours or review requests from authors/publishers. Plus i always multi task reading with other things. But when i’m journaling my husband and son know i cant be disturbed 😆

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    1. I am very sure we are not as wise, balanced, and healthy as you think. Haha! But the point is that we all try, don’t we? What is keeping you from varying your routine even a little bit? Maybe exploring what you can do differently in 3 or 5 minutes can help already?

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      1. Trying is already a step! The thing is, I tend to get carried with everything, so I don’t really pause until I am either super tired or done with what I need to achieve – So I think I just need to include “pauses” in my routine

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  6. Creating space in my day is not a problem at the moment. Of course I don’t hang on my phone, misplacing the dumb thing in the house all the time. Also by being at home all the time there is lots of space in my day. Still good advice here for those in need of some space.

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    1. Lucky you. Oh, what is it with the phone I keep misplacing mine, too! How are you spending free time lately? I suppose for some people, being at home a lot is actually crowding the day more since they are actually working with home and not just working from home.

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    1. Thanks! And I love how you make use of three minutes – so easy to underestimate but makes all the difference in the world, as you said. I find that when I am working, I purposely put things away from me so I will need to stand up and do something different for a little. Instant refresh.

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  7. Amazing, productive and healthy post.
    “It is not just a weekend thing. We do so much daily that recovery must happen daily, too. This is not about having time – nobody has the time. We have to make time.” Rightly said.

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    1. Thank you. How do you create more space in your day? I pointed that out because I feel we can forget to include ourselves in terms of care or being nice sometimes. Somehow it comes naturally to do it for others but not for ourselves. Why do you think this is?

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  8. Micah – fabulous post. Every single tip makes so much sense when you think about it.

    One thing I do, apart from many of the items on your list, when it had become too crazy is look at my day, the week ahead and even the next fortnight and move things around – so reschedule my work load.

    Then, like I did the other day, I said to my wife – I’m feeling overwhelmed. She said well what can we do? I said it’s okay because I have just spoken about it and that’s what I really needed to do instead of dwelling on it and becoming cranky. She smiled at that. Anyway, just having that clarity of thought has allowed me to put so much space into the last three days and tick off, and get done, a whole range of things.

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    1. I really appreciate the awareness you shared, thank you. Easier to blow up, of course, but you created awareness and it solved half of it. And your wife is cool, offering support and help. What a team. I wish I can follow your tip most times, too! See, I take on too much sometimes and just flatline and it takes a while before I figure out why. But like you, speaking to Markus helps a lot.

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      1. Thank you, Micah. There are times when I wished I followed my own advice more often too 😂 Yes, Linda has had to put up with a lot over the years.

        Not taking on too much is an art form in itself. And when feeling deflated, it does take time to figure out why. Building in that circuit breaker we need mentally is so important and I like how you both go about doing that as you strive towards a more balanced life.

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        1. Oh, I love how you put that – not taking on too much is an artform. I suppose we are also lucky because we have supportive partners who will help us when things suddenly combust and maybe not say ‘I told you so’. Haha! And a circuit breaker analogy is very good, too. You are killing it in this comment, Sean. I feel like we are learning every day on how to live a life that we love and learning from people like you and other generous blog friends sure help a lot so thanks a lot!

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  9. The best way I have been able to find to institutionalize self-care is by waking up one hour earlier than my wife. I practice workout, journaling and reading. It’s a huge game changer. I got the idea from Tony Robbins’ “Hour of Power” and Robin Sharma’s “5 am Club”

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    1. Hour of power sounds impressive, branding did well. When did you realize you have to wake up earlier than your wife? I can see how it works and it is a great move from you to cope, as always. The extra hour leaves you fresh and ready to face the day. And your wife and mother-in-law. Must be demanding most days! In what language do you journal?

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      1. I journal in Italian but I read personal development material in English. I realized this “hour of power” was a good idea after watching the Tony Robbins’ video about it. I tried it out and, sure enough, I was impressed by the results

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          1. The general rule is: exercise, breathe, visualize.
            There are other methods like the “5 am Club” by Robin Sharma: exercise, journal, meditate.
            Tecniques vary but the underlying principles are the same

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  10. I enjoyed reading these. Fortunately, after retiring, I have a lot of space in my life. One of my favorites is to start the morning with coffee and quiet. Just sitting meditating. Then sometimes yoga stretches. It’s sometimes a rabbit hole getting caught up in social media and internet and my blog, but I keep trying to find ways to balance everything. One thing that’s been working lately when publishing my blogs is to wait an hour just enjoying and appreciating the creative act before going back online to check for comments and likes. That feels delicious. (Thanks for writing your list down, such good pointers.)

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    1. Your morning sounds lovely. Thank you for sharing. Was there anything you could have adjusted pre-retirement so you had some more space or was it next to impossible? I laughed when I read the blog routine – the downside of having a popular blog, dear friend. Haha!

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                1. You are drawing me in, but do you detect some resistance 🤔
                  This post is very positive and makes me smile because what you are saying is so simple and straightforward. So much has changed in my life, not just in me as I’ve grown and developed but the world around. Everything changes but at different rates and in different directions, and in a world of mega-change there is not always time to reflect.

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                  1. Isn’t it that simple things done with thought really make all the difference? I actually realized how I tend to overcomplicate things, especially when I keep turning them in my head. I understand what you are saying. A lot has changed, there seems to be a constant rush, we are surrounded by so much thay wants our attention – but I suppose this is the exact reason why we must create space for ourselves and what matters to us.

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