Do you know how to create margin in your life? Do you know what margin means and why it is so important?
You may be surprised to find this post as part of my series “From Survive to Thrive” because so far I’ve focused on the mindset and actions you need in order to crush your goals and find your inner success. But did you know that by creating margin, you will be more likely to maintain the momentum required to stay the course? I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ll say it again. Achieving life-altering goals (the ones we all want to achieve) will be tough. You can easily get discouraged and burnt out if you do not create enough margin in your life.
Why achieve those big scary goals if you never have time to slow down and appreciate the outcome? That is what margin is all about.
Let me slow down for just a moment.
This post is part of my new series…FROM SURVIVE TO THRIVE where we are going to build up the mindset to CRUSH our goals and go after our WILDEST dreams by building a plan and getting started NOW.
My New Life
As many of you know, I upheaved my entire life last year. I set my big, scary goals, and then I set out to crush them. The past nine months of my life have been incredibly busy. I started two businesses that are now thriving. I am writing a book. I have been writing like crazy, and I have been on several podcasts. I’ve also gotten two certifications and am working on two more! Wow – just typing it all out makes me exhausted.
I’m not going to lie – for a while, it did seem overwhelming. I doubted myself and wondered if I had taken on too much. But then I took my own advice (crazy, I know) and regained control of my calendar. I needed more margin so my little internal train didn’t come off of its track.
By intentionally adding margin back into my life, I’ve been able to perform better in all areas. My family, my bank account, my body, and my mind are all benefiting. It sounds crazy to think that you can do more and have more by having more margin. It sounds counterintuitive, right? But we have to have balance!
What is Margin?
So what exactly is margin?
Margin is space. It is your breathing room. Margin is the gap between what we need to accomplish and what we think we have to accomplish. Margin is the intentional balance that we absolutely must inject into our lives.
Let me use a couple of examples to further define margin:
Let’s say that your flight leaves at 3:20pm, but you arrive at your gate ready to go at 2:40pm. You have left yourself 40 minutes of margin. How does that make you feel? You don’t have to stress about missing your plane, and you get a little bit of time to yourself.
Or let’s say your monthly bills total to $1500, but you made $3000 in income this month. You have $1500 of margin in your bank account. Feels pretty good, right?
Think about a book. Each page has some white space around the border. You probably don’t notice it much. That is the page margin. Without that margin, the words on the page would be difficult to read.
Margin is a good thing in most (if not all) aspects of life.
And it is good for your life.
Margin is what will allow you to put up your feet and enjoy a cup of coffee (or wine).
But margin isn’t something that will miraculously appear. You have to fight for it.
How to Create Margin in your Life
Are you wondering how to create margin in your life? In order to get that space, you need to create a budget.
I’m not talking about a budget of your finances either. I’m talking about a time budget.
You will need to budget how you spend your time just like you would budget how you spend your money.
There is one major rule when it comes to creating margin in your life.
**SET YOUR MARGIN FIRST AND THEN FIT THE REST INSIDE THE BORDER.**
So if you want to know how to create margin in your life, that is how.
Everyone’s margin looks different. Think about what gives you margin? What gives you the ever-so-important room to breathe when you feel frazzled and overwhelmed?
I want to create margin in my mornings so that I can _____________ (exercise, enjoy a cup of coffee, read my affirmations, get to work on time, etc).
I want to create margin in my evenings so that I can _______________ (read a book, write in my journal, take a bubble bath, clean up the house, etc).
I want to create margin on the weekends so that I can _________________ (be spontaneous with the kids, take a walk, etc).
I want margins during the holiday season so that I can _________________(not be stressed, visit with family, etc).
So I have a few tasks for you to do:
- Identify the areas of your life that are important to you and need margin.
- Build your margins into your calendar. Block out the time as if it were an appointment.
- Be disciplined and guard your margin.
More tips to naturally build up margin in your life (more on how to create margin in your life).
- Set goals that are relevant to your priorities. Your goals cannot all be shoehorned into one category of your life. There is no margin that way. There is no balance. And what would happen to your life if all of your goals were tied to only one category (ie career)? The other areas of your life (which are arguably more important) would suffer.
- Get out your calendar and block out time to work on your goals by scheduling appointments with yourself for your most important activities.
- Set themes to your days to batch similar activities together – this applies to all areas of your life.
- Leave buffer between activities in your calendar.
- Wake up earlier … even 20 minutes will give you some margin.
- DON’T overbook yourself.
- Say “no” to the things that you really don’t want to do.
- Get control of your email. Respond to emails in the right way. For example, can you reply and get rid of that email within a minute or two? Do it now.
- Cancel activities that don’t speak to your heart. If something is stressing you out or just doesn’t fit into your current life, get rid of it.
- Look ahead each and every week to optimize your time. For example, can you lump together two errands to avoid multiple trips? Can you combine two meetings with similar agendas? You’d be amazed at how much margin you can find by simple thinking through your schedule.
- Set hard boundaries to both start and finish your day. Don’t allow yourself to get bullied out of your margin.
- Live by your calendar. I know this sounds so rigid and boring, but it doesn’t have to be. I schedule in plenty of time for spontaneity and fun. The difference is that there is a time blocked out on my calendar so I know that nothing can take over that time.
I hope that now you have a better idea of how to create margin in your life.
Maintain that Margin
That crazy schedule that you worked so hard to tame will creep back into your life if you let it. Your margins will shrink, and you’ll find yourself back in overwhelm. Just like anything else, maintaining margin will require discipline. It will require maintenance.
We are going to talk more about time management next week so be prepared! Time management is essential to achieving our most important goals. I wanted to talk about margin first because I don’t want to scare anyone off. Time management is a good thing, and by properly managing our time we will all have more of it available. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, grab your seat in my FREE WEBINAR TRAINING that focuses on strategies you can use to increase your free time (margin) while also achieving your biggest goals.
OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES
The From Survive to Thrive Series is all about changing your mindset and taking decisive action. We are going to start putting a plan in place to take your dreams out of your head and make them a reality. As you know, planning is a critical piece of the puzzle. Be sure to download your worksheet because we are going to talk about it each week throughout the series.
I’ll be updating this post with links to the other posts in the series as I write them, so you may want to save or pin this post if you plan to follow along. You can also subscribe to email updates so you don’t miss anything.
Post 1: The Fine Art of Failure
Post 2: Developing a Growth Mindset
Post 3: How to Achieve your Dreams
Powerful Ways to Build Unstoppable Confidence
Grab my FREE Confidence Mini-Course Now!