“Never mistake busyness for significance.”
I heard this statement made by Bill Johnson, our senior pastor, as the final address to our graduating class. It hit me straight between the eyes. It’s easy to fill our schedules and days with things. But are the tasks that fill our days significant? If they don’t happen, who will it effect? Will it affect anyone?
Margin. Breathing room. The work-life balance. It’s something we all desperately need and strive to have. It can feel proverbial in the life of an entrepreneur. When it comes to being in business for yourself, it’s easy to fill up your days, going from one thing to the next. You have emails to answer, invoices to send, content to create, and sales to increase. You’re the only one that can increase your income ceiling so you run at full speed. Maybe you’re running after your dreams, doing the self-employment thing and are finding yourself in the same place. It’s easy to glamorize our busyness by calling it hustle. There’s some strange form of value found in the 100 hour work week, but at the end of the day we’re hyped up on caffeine, with minimal food in our stomachs, and are absolutely exhausted.
What if life could be different? What if there were ways to create margin?
How to Create Margin
1. Acknowledge you can’t do it all.
It takes wisdom to know when to delegate and hire things out. Where are the moments where your drive and creativity needs to be handed off to someone else? Maybe you need to hire a part-time project manager, assistant, or virtual assistant for various tasks. Choose to have focus and streamline what you do throughout the day.
2. Schedule time off. Don’t put anything in that slot.
It’s one thing to state you have days off, it’s another thing to fill them up. During the past school year, my days off were far from it. They included homework, groceries, blog shoots, and laundry, usually within 5 hours of time. Protect your time off and follow through on the commitment to yourself. For me this means, scheduling spontaneity, adventures, and placing it in my Google Calendar. If it’s in my Google Calendar, it will happen.
3. Put your screens away.
Our life is filled with visual clutter and noise. We go from watching TV to minutes later watching mind-numbing Instagram Stories as we get ready for bed. Rather than connecting with others we go from screen to screen throughout our day. What would it look like to place your phone on the opposite side of the room, connect with your partner, or enjoy the physical pages of a good book? Find breathing room by choosing to consume less. It will be hard at first, but worth it.
4. Value rest and peace above anything else.
There is nothing worth your peace. Absolutely nothing. If you find your mornings filled with rush or regret that you slept in for 10 minutes, let this be your wake up call. Life should never be filled with so much that your mind is reeling before your feet hit the floor. It’s time to listen to your heart, body, and needs. Whether you’re working for someone else or yourself, cultivate ways to cope and bring a breath of fresh air to your day. Whether it’s finding solace in prayer, meditation, scripture, or a walk, cultivate peace in your life. It’s an invaluable practice.
Often time margin isn’t created due to lack of priorities. Develop clear and top priorities for your days. Statistically you won’t get more than three major tasks accomplished in a single day. Give yourself grace and tackle projects accordingly. Once you set realistic expectations, you will find margin will begin to surface. Embrace it. Take a walk, make a good meal, find connection with a friend, or go for a run.
How do you create margin?
We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below.