Visually, our designs need room to breathe.
Negative space is the space around the subject of an image. It provides balance and focus to the image, drawing our eye to the intended target. An image with significant negative space also has a sense of peace about it.
As a leader, we often feels like our work is never done; there is always more. We don’t set out to overwork, but the little extra here and the little extra there become the new normal. Then we continue adding a little more until our work-life balance has snowballed out of control.
If this you, I get it. I’ve been there.
But you don’t have to stay there, there is another way.
A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Good design isn’t about adding more.
It’s about taking away what’s unnecessary to elevate what is essential. Similarly, in cooking, you’ll get better results from a reduction than from adding more seasoning.
We usually don’t need more. We need less. But what does less look like?
We’ll explore three ways we create negative space in our life?
If you want to get into a flow and create something great, you need to make space to work.
This one works better to start with a clean slate. I turned off all the notifications on my phone. Then I began adding the ones I wanted back in my life.
I started with real-time communication apps and travel apps. If someone is texting me, I want to be notified so I can respond. If my plane is boarding or my Lyft has arrived, I also want to be notified.
Be most ruthless with your phone and watch. I allow more work notifications on my iPad or laptop because I’m usually working when I’m on them.
On no device do I enable email notifications.
Email is asynchronous communication. It can wait. If it can’t wait, then the person sending the email should have used a different channel.
I have found that a few apps require a little more nuance.
Be careful with badges.
Badges are passive notifications, not interruptive but letting you know something is there. This can be helpful, but it can also a dangerous temptation. You get on your phone to do one thing, click on that badge to see what it is…1 hour later you realize you still haven’t done the thing you picked up you phone to do.
Especially if you are just now trying to reduce notifications, I’d suggest turning off the badges too.
If we are to find needed negative space as leaders, we may need to take more drastic measures to break our current habits.
You want your life to have meaning and impact.
What if your everyday work and life not only felt natural and intuitive but also aligned with your priorities and positively impacted those around you?