"Life is better with breathing room."
- Andy Stanley
We don't like cramped spaces.
We don't like sitting in the middle seat on the airplane. We don't like narrow parking spaces where we can barely open the car door. And we don't like blog posts that leave no white space to make it easy on the eyes. We all like 'margin.'
In the same way, you need to create margin in your life. Margin is space that affords you to be less stressed, more in control and allows you to do things with excellence.
Lack of margin, living close to the edge, means if one thing doesn't go as planned, everything goes haywire.
For example, if you wait until April 15 to do your taxes, what if your computer crashes or a family emergency comes up?
Here's the deal, when you don't give yourself margin, you become stressed and selfish.
How many times have you walked into a room to listen to a presentation and the speaker is frazzled because they are fiddling with technology at the last minute? They are consumed with getting the PowerPoint to work and are unable to focus on greeting people as they walk in.
Your life will become easier if you get in the habit of leaving yourself margin.
Here are 3 simple ways to leave yourself margin.
1. Create Self-Imposed Deadlines
Plan to have your taxes done by April 1st. If you are a leader, deliver the performance review two weeks before it is due. (You have to do these things anyway.) Constantly running behind or doing things at the last minute is exasperating.
2. Don't Overbook Yourself
You are setting yourself up for failure if you try and cram too much into a day. The quality of your work and the quality of your relationships suffer.
3. Plan to Arrive 15 Minutes Early for EVERYTHING
Driving to appointments or meetings when you are running late is no fun. You can't enjoy the drive, there is little time to think and you become easily annoyed at other drivers. It's so much better arriving cool, calm and confident.
Life can be challenging, why make it more difficult?
Life is an adventure, leave yourself margin and enjoy the ride!