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Buffer Time

You know how many of us have super packed schedules, going from this meeting to that call to that place, to that event? Only to repeat the same the very next day?

That’s a lot of going and doing and rushing without any space to catch our breath or reflect.

When we do not have s p a c e in our schedule, when we are ricocheting from thing to thing, it can create a rushed feeling and cause us to have less patience, less flexibility and less access to our best ideas and our best solutions.

This looks like showing up to pick up your kids running on fumes with little patience or slamming into that important 4 o’clock phone call with your head full of a million unrelated things and unable to be fully present.

Have you been there? Me, too.

When I noticed this, I implemented “Buffer Time” in my schedule before any really important meeting or event where I needed to be at my best.

Buffer Time is scheduling our time with space before and between events, creating a buffer between one activity and the next.

This could look like protecting 15-30 minutes between each event in your calendar of open space, to allow yourself to shift gears and transition to your next activity.

This could look also like adding 30 minutes to a meeting so it appears to start earlier (Pro Tip: Prevent confusion by noting the actual start time in the Event line, e.g. “Pre-Interview Radio Show (10am)” in the calendar starting at 9:30am). This way works especially well if other people have access to your calendar and can schedule any open time you have.

This structure of Buffer Time means that when the kids get in the car or when we get on that important phone call, we have deliberately set ourselves up to be our most present, patient and generous self.

When we are those things, we can more easily roll or flow with any changes, surprises or upsets that may arise. It’s the difference between snapping at your kids and taking a deep breath before you snap.

It means if the person on the important phone call says something that triggers you or hurts your feelings, you can (again) take a deep breath and realize it’s actually not about you, or speak up and clean it up.

These days, I do my best most of the time to have a buffer between nearly everything in my schedule. That doesn’t always happen, but it’s my goal and IF I choose to pack my schedule tightly, I am doing so consciously and deliberately.

Give it a try, even if it is only 5 minutes at first. You will immediately notice you are clearer and more centered, regardless of how busy your day is.

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