You won’t have heard of fellow Geordie John Baillie, but if it wasn’t for him, trains would have been smashing into each other with alarming force for the last 170 years. 
In the mid-19th century, John Baillie invented… the Baillie Schneckenfeder (that’s German not Geordie), a spring coil which we now call a train buffer!

His invention absorbed the impact between train cars, preventing damage and ensuring smoother, safer journeys. 

Ahh buffers.  
Or as I now call them, Schneckenfeder’s.


But buffers aren’t just for trains.

Buffers are brilliant. 

Time buffers prevent overwhelm by giving space. A chance to breathe, catch up or do nothing.

In my How to Save an Hour Every Day Workshops, I always encourage a bit of buffer time.

Not you? Well, if you ever feel delighted when a meeting or event is cancelled, it’s a clear sign you have too much on.


You need Emotional Buffers too. 

Without them, you can create unnecessary stress and overwhelm.  

Emotional buffers give you the space to process thoughts and emotions, helping you maintain a positive mindset and avoid burnout.


Creating Resource Buffers is just as important. Don’t exhaust your supplies or your energy. Keep a reserve to ensure you’re always ready for what comes next.  
Think about your food, work tools, office supplies or your personal energy levels.

Having a resource buffer means you’re not caught off guard when something runs out or when you need an extra push to get through a tough task.


And one more Clutter Buffers.

Physically, having space buffers in your environment helps you stay organised and focused. 

When your physical space is chaotic, it can lead to mental clutter too. 

Clear the clutter, create some breathing room and notice how much more efficient you can be..


How do you create buffers in your life?  
Please share your ideas and we’ll send a copy of of my book, How to Save an Hour Every Day, to our favourite.  
Please leave your comments below

Remember, buffers aren’t about doing less; they’re about reducing impact. Buffers help you to do more but with ease and efficiency.

Be Brilliant!



  1. July 11th 2024 by Craig Lourens

    Thanks for the reminder. Buffers help you in so many ways. My view is they have to be planned and incorporated into your routine.

  2. July 11th 2024 by Donovan Craig Lourens

    Buffers make sure we live a life of intention!

  3. July 11th 2024 by Nicola

    An episode of Vera (a bit of light murder) is the perfect buffer between schedules.

  4. July 11th 2024 by Jo O'Connell

    As I work from home, I need a physical time buffer. And so I grab my headphones and go for a quick walk around the block listening to a certain Michael Heppell’s How to Be Brilliant on Audible Audiobooks. I need that time to have a walk and also get inspired before I go home and start cooking the dinner and get drawn into the busy family life. By taking that 10 mins to be being fulfilled myself, I’m in a much better place to be (Brilliant) caring and listening parent.

  5. July 11th 2024 by Holly Martinez

    Years ago, smoking was a buffer for me. I had to take a break from my busy, hectic day and waste ten minutes of smoking. Only to realize it was an excuse for getting and keeping on with life.

  6. July 12th 2024 by Suzanne Mitchell

    My buffers are sporadic…need to read your book!! Used to be my early morning walk by the sea…thank you for the reminder about needing to allow a buffer. Fingers crossed I can win a copy of your book and learn more!🤞

  7. July 12th 2024 by Debbie Lynn

    A few years ago I had to look hard at emotional buffers with the people around me- who was in my tribe?, the people who supported me and gave to me as much as I gave them versus the people that took a lot and drained me physically and emotionally. It was triggered by me having to prioritise taking care of my grandmother who had been diagnosed with a terminal condition, and I was ‘going under’. I had some hard conversations, asking for help and support, and realising that some people, very close family included were only happy when I was being an informal driver/counsellor/shopper/organiser etc for them. Some felt I was being selfish but I realised the impact they were having on me, sucking the life out of me. I did indeed get selfish, I recognised my worth, the need for a permanent buffer so closed the door, bolted it and threw away the key on them all, and on reflection I only wish I’d done it sooner.

  8. July 15th 2024 by Steph

    I’ve needed to change my buffers with working from home (although I’ve never thought of them as buffers). I’ve tired to protect time everyday to have 20 mins on my own walking but thats not always achievable

  9. July 19th 2024 by Hilra Vinha

    This reminded me that I need more buffers! I have experienced some hard times and the consequences that followed, so I had to learn to create buffers to survive. At one point, my life was so complicated and isolated, my buffer was Wikipedia. Not searching for iformation, but actually being an editor, creating articles about the topics I felt I knew enough about and was happy to research further, and being part of an online anonymous community. That buffer saved my life literally. But that’s a very long story. Since then, I learned that having an emotional buffer or time buffer is not wasting time or procrastinating, as I originally thought. Buffers are productive and effective. A wonderful buffer for me is painting. I’m no artist and can only produce naive portraits with no technique or likeness, but the time spent painting is a multitude of buffers in one activity: time, emotional, clutter as I need to keep brushes and stuff tidy afterwards, and is also a creativity buffer, as sometimes I need that too (not a break from creativity, but an opportunity to reconnect with it when I feel empty). I think it is fair to say, I absolutely relate to this.

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