The best of me requires time for all of me. Each facet of my life requires attention and resourcefulness. I cannot expect to be whole if I sacrifice one part of who I am for another. Mike Ivey
At the beginning of this year, our Pastor preached a sermon about creating Margins in our life and it has been one of my key objectives this year. I am inclined to throw myself into my work with passion and purpose and can often be very unbalanced. So this year, I was determined to create margins in my daily routine from finance, work and family life. One of the biggest ways I worked this out was in my diary, because i am guilty of filling up my diary with meeting after meeting with very little wiggle room, I started with that. I started focusing of quality and not quantity. I left no less than a half hour between my meetings – not including travel time – and apart from one or two times when I “squeezed” that person in against my better judgement – and as you guess, to my detriment – otherwise I have had a year, for the most part, where I am not been chasing my tail, continuously running late and always feeling flustered and apologetic.
In fact, just by making that adjustment, it has made a remarkable difference to a year that was rife with many changes and challenges, that would have probably derailed me. As this year comes to a speedy end and I take the time to celebrate the successes of the year, this would be a huge one for me. It will be a habit I will be rolling out in other areas of my life in 2015.
Just like the margins on the page of a notebook, margin create spaces for creativity and making notes(or being reflective). It has been quite a reflective year, with lots of personal growth as I have moved my focus from running a Business Magazine to full time Coaching. It has been wrought with many insecurities, fears and failures along the way, but having the margins in my day have let me have moments where I have been able to take it all in and re-adjust where necessary.
So how do you create Margins? In terms of your diary, leave space between every meeting, make time to recoup and refresh. Make time at the end of each week to do some reflecting.
Here are three tactics for creating Margins?
- Learn to say “Hell No!”
Why “Hell No”? I found that one of the first things I had to learn to say was no, but because I had always been such a push over in the past, some people wouldn’t take no for an answer, so I quickly learnt that “Hell No!”(with a smile of course) always does the job, as most people are stunned to silence and realise that I am probably not going to change my mind. Of course, I followed it up by sticking to my guns also helped. Now don’t hear what I am not saying, I choose very carefully what I say yes to, as whenever you say yes to something, think about what you are saying no too. It is normally family time, or your health, or it was in my case.
2. Align Agenda
Who’s dream are you working on most of your time, yours or someone else’s? Get focused about where you are going and keep your eyes on that path. Get clear about what you want and only get involved with projects that will lead you towards what is in your heart. There are many people who have agenda’s, dreams and goals that need you to help them, but are they leading you to or away from your dreams and goals? Align yourself with people with the same heartbeat. Our dreams always are a piece of the bigger puzzle, so don’t be a lone ranger but choose wisely.
3. Intentional Planning
I am not a big planner, it is more of a discipline than something that comes naturally to me. But it is true, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Creating Margins, is all about planning your week and making sure you know what you are doing and being prepared for it so there are no surprises, and if there are surprise, there is some wiggle room to absorb it and you can be far more flexible. By making big spaces between meetings and events, it also allows for unrushed time for when those “God moments” happen. When you have some time to ask that customer that question that pops into your heart, that brings encouragement and sometimes tears. Where you have the time to stop and chat to a friend you bump into and you are able to speak life into a situation.
Have you made space in your life for margins? Do you have space to be creative when you hit a snag in your business? Do you have time to stop and regroup, or do you have to just keep running on the treadmill? Do you have margin, to take the time to make sure you are still on track? Do you have margin, to see where the next move should be for your business?
Take time and think about it….. then do something about it!