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Create Margin in Your Life

The maxim of the world seems to be; do more, be more, have more.  So it’s hard not to find ourselves stuck in a constant state of busy, rushing from one place to another. Nearly suffocating in our workload, let alone additional commitments. Yet we wear busyness like a badge of honour. Busyness has become a sign of success or prestige, like it’s the only way to get somewhere, but in reality, what we feel is much less than that.

Attractive young woman relaxing on couch

We are in a constant state of stress, burn-out, frustration and guilt.

We cram our schedule so full of activities and busyness that our emotional and physical health suffers. Busyness becomes the blindfold that prevents us from living the life we wish.

But that life is totally within reach. Small changes, a different mindset, and more margin can change your day, potential, and overall success.

What is margin? 

Margin is the space between our load and our limits. It is the amount allowed beyond that which is needed. It is something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations. Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating. Margin is the opposite of overload.

The more margin or buffer we can weave into our day or week, the less exhausted we feel and happier we are. 

Margin is unscheduled time that you can use in whatever way refreshes you or helps you get back on track with life. Margin is your breathing space.

How can you add margin?

Schedule 10-15 minutes between activities or meetings

Stacking meeting on top of meetings and booking your schedule full can sound like a productive way to get more done. But it just creates more stress. This increase in stress decreases creativity, awareness, and happiness and you really don’t have time to think or process what is actually going on in these meetings, decreasing the contribution you can make. 

To break this cycle, plan 15-minute breaks between activities, meetings, or projects. Give yourself space to catch up if something is running behind and prepare you for the next task. Even if you don’t need the time, a quick break is always welcome.

Create a morning routine

They say how you start your day is typically how you end it so create space first thing each day to set yourself up for success.  Start the day in a peaceful and well-structured way rather than a hectic mad rush and the benefits will flow right through your day. 

It doesn’t have to include a meditation session and a green juice but make the time to eat a proper breakfast and get mentally prepared for the day. 

Stick to a small number of priorities per day

Make a realistic list of five or less things you want to accomplish in a day and commit to doing them.

I find it useful to make one big list of everything that I need to get done so I can get it out of my head, then I split it across the week (or two if necessary). 

Prepare in advance

Where possible prepare in advance.  It will save time and reduce stress.

It might be something as simple as picking your clothes, setting up for breakfast or preparing a packed lunch from the night before so you’re less rushed in the morning.  Or it might be meal planning for the week so you can pick healthier meals and have all the ingredients ready in your weekly shop. Small bits of organisation can add up and make a huge difference to your week.

Limit social media

I can’t be the only person who has accidentally wasted a whole hour just scrolling?

Point is, it’s infuriatingly easy to blow a lot of time scrolling social media.  So, don’t.  It won’t help your mood, your to do list or help you achieve your goals.  Find some points of the day where you have a 10-minute scroll and be done with it. 

I hope you’re inspired to create more margin in your life and you benefit from that extra breathing space.

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