Buffer (n) | ˈbəfər | – A person or thing that prevents incompatible or antagonistic people or things from coming into contact with or harming each other
I almost never schedule two meetings back to back.
No one can automatically book my calendar on Mondays or Fridays.
I aim to finish projects the day before they’re due.
This morning, I left for the airport about 30 minutes before I thought I really needed to.
These are all examples of ways I intentionally build Time Buffer into my life.
I feel self-conscious as I write this.
See, our hustle-go-go culture normalizes and even celebrates busyness and overwhelm.
Having “extra” space in one’s schedule is considered a luxury.
It’s perhaps even a bit shameful.
Who am I to leave time between meetings?! Do I think I’m better than everyone else?
Here’s the thing: I believe mainstream “success culture” radically undervalues Time Buffer — and its cousins, Rest and Space and Ease.
There are many forces pushing us along the toxic, addictive, short-termist road to Burnout City.
I ALSO believe we have the option to stop playing the mainstream game.
Some of us currently have more economic or social power to do that than others, of course.
Most of us have more power than we think we do.
I know this because I used to be just as overscheduled with my overwhelming job as the best of ‘em, and I was SURE it HAD to be that way.
Then I got willing to radically change my whole life.
I started asking:
→ What stories are you telling yourself about why you HAVE to be as busy as you are?
→ Are they true?
→ Can you be absolutely sure they’re true?
→ What happens when you believe that story?
→ Who would you be if you couldn’t believe that story anymore?
→ How is the opposite of your story at least as true?
(Note: Keen-eyed readers may recognize these questions from The Work of Byron Katie. More on that another time.)
Nature is all about Time Buffer.
So: Who am I to leave time between meetings?
I’m a person who has decided to make Time Buffer a priority.
PPS – Buffer comes in many forms… For example, Profit First helps me make sure I have Cashflow Buffer. What Buffers are you leaning into these days?
This post was originally sent as an email to the Magic Words of the Week newsletter list. Every week, I share reflections on a word, quote, or phrase I think will help you thrive in your life’s work.