I am currently reading a book about spiritual development, and one section of the last chapter has stuck with me. I truly cannot get it out of my head and I think that I know why. It’s with me because it’s something that I have not mastered yet: creating margins. See, I have worked on time management for years and have even coached others on creating schedules that work for them and ones that leave them time for their selves. I, personally, complete the same time management calendar every few months, and I usually make time for myself and the things that I love. However this year, as with last year, my schedule became chaotic. I began living a margin-less life: one that has left me with many sleepless nights because there’s always something else that needs to be done. Soon, I forgot what it meant to live a life with margins.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, creating a life with margins means to create a life where there is time for self. This means that there is time to read, nap, watch t.v., meditate, or simply do nothing. It’s free time. A margin-less life is the opposite and may now feel relatable: a life with little to no time for oneself due to being overworked and overwhelmed. When I think of this, I think of the phrase “no time.” When you live a life where you have “no time”, you become this type of person: tired, sleep deprived, overworked, overwhelmed, and hurried.
So how in the world do we move from a margin-less life to one with margins? Allow me to provide some tips from people who have mastered this, along with my own tips (from when I did have this under control):
Make a plan and follow it: You know when I stated that my life got chaotic? Well life is always chaotic, but the reason I moved into a margin-less life was because I never updated my calendar to fit the chaos. I had a plan in place for how my weeks could go, but I completely put it to the side and allowed additional requests to become my obligations. Don’t do this. Make a schedule for yourself and try your best to stick to it. If something gets in the way, adjust your schedule, but don’t abandon it. Abandonment of your schedule is a surefire way to live some else’s life.
Make time for yourself first: This is something we are often not taught and that needs to change. Pull out your calendar and schedule at least 30 minutes within the week for yourself. It’s great if you can find more time, but if you can’t, at least you know that you’ve got a spot left for your own peace. Do not cancel an appointment with yourself.
Say no (with no explanation): I am still bad with this, but it is okay to say no without giving a reason why. So many of us will take on extra work because we either don’t have the courage to say no or do not have a reason for saying no (other than we don’t want to fulfill the request). How about simply saying “no” without an explanation? As a fellow colleague stated: you can say no and simply say that you are busy. No one is entitled to our reasons.
What are some ways that you create margins in your life?
Keep leading and stay safe,