How About More Space Not More Goals?

We’re often told to look ahead and set goals – especially as a new year begins. But, says marketing coach Stephanie Ward, goal setting isn’t necessarily the right solution for those who are feeling overwhelmed. What if, instead of focusing on goals and things to do, we focused more on space and time to think and be?

You need to set some goals is fairly common advice. And you might be thinking, “That sounds great, but where do I find the time to do that when I don’t have time to do everything else I want to do in my business and life?”


“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.” Zen wisdom


If you don’t have time to create more space in your career or business, it may be time to adjust your business model. You may need to hire someone, increase your prices, or change the way you’re delivering your services.

If you don’t have time to create more space in your personal life, you may want to consider simplifying, or let go of approaches that don’t serve you.

And if you’re a die-hard goal-setter, please continue with what works for you! I’m not trying to talk you out of goal setting. I’m trying to talk you into space setting. You may even find that by creating space, your goals emerge on their own, naturally.

Here are three types of space to consider building into your schedule:

  1. Space for Working On Your Business/Career

You’ve probably heard the distinction – made popular by Michael Gerber’s book The E-Myth – between working ‘in’ your business versus working ‘on’ your business. It’s easy to get stuck, overwhelmed, or headed in the wrong direction if you’re working non-stop in your business.

When you create space to work on your business/career and think more strategically about where you want to go, things become clear. And with clarity, you’re able to make decisions that will move you forward in a productive way.

Consider making one day a week appointment free. And, if possible, one week per month appointment free.

  1. Space for Thinking

One of my Master Mind members recently mentioned that he has already scheduled two weeks, one in the spring and one in the fall/autumn, for thinking about his business. He got the idea from Bill Gates who has done ‘think weeks’ in a cabin in the woods for years.


“We must never become too busy sawing to take time to sharpen the saw.” Stephen R. Covey


If you can’t go away, at least go to an inspiring location during the day. Think about a beautiful hotel lobby, a co-working space, or somewhere in nature.

Allowing space for thinking also benefits our emotional wellbeing: it allows us to pay attention to our thoughts and thinking patterns, which can transform the actions we take.

  1. Space for Being

If you want to tap into new possibilities for both your career and your personal life, it’s not going to happen by only setting aside time for brainstorming. It’s also critical to create space to just be, with no agenda; to allow time to let your mind wander wherever it wants to go (I love to take daily walks in the woods to create space and move my body).


“Creativity, innovation, strategic thinking, and simply being present don’t require time – they require space.” David Allen


Giving yourself permission to take free time just for the sake of free time is an antidote to the pressure we feel to always perform and be productive. Time to be also allows us to replenish, to reconnect with ourselves and see what makes us feel alive.

Ready to get started?

I hope you’re feeling inspired to plan more space into your schedule. You may also enjoy this five-minute talk I gave at David Allen’s GTD Summit for more about creating space. Then, get started with your space setting by deciding when and how you want to create space, grab your agenda and set it in stone.

How does it feel to be asked to create more space rather than more goals? How do you create space for yourself and your business? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Stephanie Ward is the marketing coach for entrepreneurs who want to create meaningful and prosperous businesses. Grab your FREE copy of her special report “7 Steps to Attract More Clients in Less Time” plus business building tips at

This article was originally published on and has been adapted with permission.