Rusty's Corner: Create Margin

One thing I know we all have in common is that we all have more than one priority in a day. We can all say we have full schedules and never enough time in a day to complete our to-do lists. I find myself with a list of things to complete and that list...never seems to end. The truth is, the list will NEVER end. It’s all about creating margin and recognizing that saying yes to something will result in a no to something else. We simply cannot do it all, ALL of the time.

Keeping margin in mind, I have learned to say, “No" to things I don't want to do or aren't a high enough priority, and realizing that saying “Yes” to something means “No” to something else.  For instance, I know that if I plan on working late, that means I will be missing dinner with my family. I cannot add more time into the day, but I can make conscious decisions about things I add to my to-do list. For me, if it’s not a 'hell yes', then it should be a 'no!'

Margin is the unscheduled time that you can use in whatever way refreshes you. Margin is your breathing room.

Never fill your entire schedule. Give yourself a break, and allow unscheduled time in between activities. Use this extra time as your schedule’s “emergency fund” for when you’re running late or somebody else is running late, or you just need to put your feet up for a minute. Give yourself some time to be spontaneous as well. This will help rejuvenate your energy levels and give your mind some time to catch up with yourself.

How can you create that margin?  The best way to start would be to numbering your priorities. If something is on your to-do list, but it isn’t a true priority, delegate it or opt-out of it.  Deciding what is most important, and getting those items crossed off daily will make you more effective, and delegating (or dumping) the others will give you margin.

Unfortunately, as time goes by, the busyness WILL creep back in and your margins will shrink. With any area of your life, there is proactive planning required. Plan a time to reassess your schedule and adjust regularly! As we go into spring, this is as much a reminder for me as it is for anyone else.

Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating. Start breathing freely today.

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