5 Reasons to Build Margin into Your Life Now!

One thing that we all have in common is the amount of time in each day. 24 hours. That’s it. A common small talk conversation I have with others is about how little time we have or wondering where all the time has gone. Really, it’s not that we have run out of time or that some days we have less time than other days. We talk about that as if we control it.

But we don’t. 24 hours in each day. That’s what we got yesterday. It’s what we get today. It’s what we will get tomorrow.

What is different are the ways we fill those 24 hours. Think about your typical day or 24 hours.

Let’s say the average adult sleeps or at least remains in bed for seven hours each night. Now you have 17 hours left.

Would you agree that on average it takes you about two hours to get up, dressed and ready to get the day going, either out the door or taking care of little ones at home? 15 hours left.

If you go to a work place or you work at home, that’s probably about 8-10 hours. So let’s say nine on average. Now you have six precious hours left before you get back in bed and begin the day all over again.

Let me ask you something about those first 18 hours of the day. What or who dictated what filled those hours? Did you dictate it or did something dictate it to you?

That’s not fair you might be saying. I don’t understand how many things demand your time and energy. You probably are right, I don’t understand.

Maybe there isn’t a whole lot you can do with that portion of your day. But what happens to those hours between when you get out of work, get out of school, your kids come home, and the time everyone gets back in bed?

Richard A. Swenson, author of Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives calls the opposite of margin—overload.

Overload is not having time to finish the book you’re reading on stress. Margin is having time to read it twice. Overload is fatigue. Margin is energy. Overload is red ink. Margin is black ink. Overload is hurry. Margin is calm. Overload is anxiety. Margin is security. Overload is the disease of the 90’s. Margin is the cure. Margin is the space that once existed between ourselves and our limits. It’s something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations.Richard A. Swenson

Within that quote are at least five reasons to build margin into your life in 2014!

  1. Time to do the things you want to do.
  2. Energy instead of fatigue.
  3. Calm instead of hurry or rushed.
  4. Security instead of anxiety.
  5. Space between ourselves and our limits.

Any of those reasons appeal to you? These reasons don’t only apply to how we spend our time. They also apply to how we expend our energy and spend our money.

Join me in making 2015 a year of building margin into your life for the important things. Take time to rest, spend with your kids and friends, read those books stacking up on your nightstand or on your Kindle. Spend less on yourself so you have more to give away.

Build margin so you can “create space” as I referenced in Taking Time to Reflect. That concept is nearly impossible when we have no margin in our life.

How would you describe your life right now? Overloaded or do you have margin?

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I am a longtime Austinite. Married my beautiful wife over 25 years ago. Adopted our son September 2012. Currently a writer and loving it. Previous jobs and careers include project management, missionary, and pastor. I enjoy sports (both watching and playing), traveling, reading, digging in dirt and hanging with my friends and family.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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