Eight Examples to Create Margin in Your Life
Living A Life of Focus – Part 6
Busy. Tired. Overwhelmed. Restless. Stressed. Those words are common everyday words you hear from most people. What you rarely hear is: relaxed, fulfilled, refreshed, ready, tranquil, and calm. These words are far less than common and almost nonexistent. Which words best describe your life? Are you brave enough to step away from the norm and live a life of margin?
Welcome to our sixth installment and our fifth focus statement. We implement focus statements because we desire to see change, intentional change, occur in our own lives. In this lesson we’re studying our “Marginal Habits – Create Margin in All We Do” focus statement.
Marginal Defined by the Bible: “Better [uncommon] is one handful [margin] with tranquility than two handfuls with toil [too much going on in your life] and chasing after the wind [never being satisfied].” – bible.com/111/ecc.4.6.niv
The Thought or Concept:
“Most people are not quite sure when they pass from margin to overload.” – Michael Hyatt
Could it be that you never noticed when things got out of control and instead of living life, you began chasing it? Are you now wishing you had more time and it seems like there’s never enough of it? You need some margin.
In this episode, we’re going to help you see the benefits of creating margin in everything you do. I’ve learned an important lesson from practicing this focus statement on margin. It’s resulted in how to get control of our lives by slowing down what I call “the pace of life.” This is called margin. Margin is you scaling back, doing less, so that you can achieve more.
Margin is taking back control of your life from all the people and activities that have stolen it away. It’s you setting limits and boundaries. Margin means you can breathe and slow the pace of your life.
If you want to sleep better at night, add a little margin to every area of your life. If you want a better relationship with your spouse or children add a little margin. It’s not going to come by you continuing to do what you’re currently doing. If you desire better working conditions, you don’t need a new job, you need to add just a little margin. So let’s talk about how to get it.
Since we’ve defined it, to truly understand it, I’d like to share eight ways you can set margin in your life. I think of my life, my home, my family as a business and so should you. As a business your life has these departments that must be managed. I’d like to discuss the eight departments that make up one’s life and give an example of how we establish margin in each department. Let’s do it. (Note: some of these examples might sound a little extreme and they should because this is uncommon stuff.)
- Executive Administration. Years ago Pamela and I decided to change worship service times from 9:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. This required a little more discipline because who wants to get out of bed even earlier every Sunday morning? That’s around 6:00 a.m. and it’s the weekend. But it’s this time change that enabled us to have a more enjoyable and less wasted Sunday. This change gave us something we could not have had had we not made the small adjustment. We gained margin. What can you do to set margin within the department for the executives in your home?
- Finance. We decided that we would never again want to chase our bills. You know that feeling of trying to figure out when to pay what only to find out something is overdue or increased. So we created a process that allows us to pay our monthly financial obligations ahead. We created margin in our bills and when we have to pay them. For more on this topic see, our web-posts for paying-ahead. What financial change can you make or dream of making so that you can experience some financial freedom?
- Facilities. We struggled for the longest time to keep our home as clean as we wanted it. Each week we tackled cleaning a predetermined room or set of rooms. We could never clean the entire house all at once; we were just not good at it. We continued to fail at it and it was taking up all our time. So instead of hiring someone to cut the grass, we hired someone to clean the house. Talk about breathe again. It freed us from a mountain of chores that we could never conquer. What could you do differently to ease the burdensome chores found in your home?
- Office Administration. I used to keep all receipts in a physical expandable folder. In fact, every piece of paperwork that came into the home I filed away until one day we’d had enough. We implemented a paperless solution which changed the game forever. Now all that paperwork is available to us everywhere and accessible anytime. It’s this process that brought margin in the form of organization and efficiency. What process can you enhance by adding a little margin in how you perform your office administrative work?
- Production and Development. This department outlines how we do what we do. To add margin here, we decided to change how we worked our priorities. We used to spend long hours on the job because we needed to accomplish our work. We altered this by scheduling the work we must get done first and the rest had to wait until later. In other words, we took care of our work before helping someone else with theirs. Are you working longer hours because you’re not getting to your priorities? What can you do to produce margin in your work?
- Marketing. In order to create the change we’d like to see in our lives, we implemented the very thing we’re discussing today, focus statements. Each year we target an area to improve and all year we stay focused to this change. Know that you’re marketing who you are every day, but how will you do a better job of it? What can you do to alter how you market yourself using a little margin?
- Human Relations. You see we’re not the most generous people by default. Yet we desired to be more generous and we felt it important to be generous to those closest to us. This focus on margin allows us to provide birthday cards and gifts to those closest to us. In order to carry this out, we implemented our giving card. This card allows us to be generous to the people we care about at anytime without putting a strain on our own finances. We created a plan to be generous. What can you do to add margin in how you care for your family?
- Legacy. We’ve recently changed the name of this department from legal/political to legacy. Pamela and I wanted to do a little forward thinking on how to extend our impact beyond our life on earth. This type of thinking requires some out of the box thinking and actions so that we leave a legacy. We’re preparing now for what’s inevitable, so that we can have the impact we desire beyond the grave. That in itself is margin. What are you preparing (using margin to create) so that you can leave your legacy?
I can’t express enough how your life gets better by adding margin. Just think of it this way, you can live like everyone else and your life will be just like everyone else’s. However, implement this uncommon practice in just one area and I guarantee based on the results you see, you’ll spread the practice to more areas of your life.
Today is Friday!
In this lesson we’re discussing how you can create margin in all you do. I think I need to change definitions of margin. Margin is you gaining control of your life as opposed to living a life that’s out of your control.
I hope this message has inspired you to do at least one part of your life differently. Now that we’ve given this practice to you, can you give it to someone else? Simply share it. Thanks.