Interstitial time is a wonderful thing, used wisely. In today’s action-packed world, gaps and pauses are increasingly rare things. A gap in a market often signals an opportunity, although sometimes the gap is there for a good reason. Either there isn’t a demand, or the economics don’t work out. Gaps between projects or jobs can be an opportunity to pull things back to order, and to reflect on things, but they are there for a reason too.

After every difficulty, ask yourself two questions:

What did I do right?‘ and ‘What would I do differently?

– Brian Tracy

The gap between Christmas and New Year is a time of reflection and planning for me. It is a time for going a little slower, a time for looking back over the year. A space to think about what I have learnt and what has been achieved. It is a time for looking forward to the year ahead too, thinking about goals and new projects.

The transitions and pauses in presentations and speeches are one of the keys to a great delivery. The transitions and pauses in life can be used to the same effect. The gaps aren’t there simply to cram more things into. Sometimes they are meant to be gaps. Pauses to be appreciated. A chance to notice little things that would otherwise be missed.

It is hard to make many predictions for 2009, other than that it will be very different from 2008. The world will remain competitive, but the terms of that competition will shift subtly. Knowledge will be as important as ever, and social software will continue to become an increasingly central part of our personal and work lives.

The shifts will remind us that people are more important than systems and processes. That communities create more sustainable change than individuals. That reflective learning wins out over blind striving, in the long run at least. Notice the little things, because the little things are often the ones that cause the biggest changes.

Love the gaps. Use them well. Even if it wasn’t a great ’08, you can still plan for a fine ’09. Plan it well, but leave some gaps.