Your Focus Assessment Results…

Based on the answers you gave in your Focus Assessment quiz…

Your biggest opportunity is to regain some breathing room in your day.

You need some margin.

What’s that? Well, margin is breathing room. It’s the opposite of overload.

When you’re at capacity, there is no room for anything else. But when there is space left over — when there is margin — that space enables you to breath.

Margin enables you to do your best creative work. Margin enabled intentional living. Margin helps with stress and anxiety.

Your lack of margin, probably means you feel fatigued, hurried, and anxious rather than excited, calm, and secure.

Right now you have little or no time for your own projects and passions because your day is filled up having to respond to so many other urgent issues. It’s likely that you often wake up to your day, rather than waking up for your day.

You’re not alone.

Roughly half of Americans who work more than 50 hours a week don’t take all or most of their vacation time. (source)

You would be surprised (or perhaps not) at how many people lack margin in their daily lives. They lack in in their schedule, they lack it with their energy, they lack it in their finances, and more.

In 2015 I took about 10 days off the whole year. I even worked over my Christmas vacation. That’s just not healthy.

It took me a long time to become comfortable with taking time off. Evenings, weekends, long lunches, even vacations… I would feel guilty if I wasn’t cramming every minute of my day with something productive and important.

Dr. Richard Swenson writes, in his book on Margin, that we must “develop the necessary underpinnings for margin that will allow us to accept its importance without guilt. For just as we need to eat and sleep, so we also need to breathe.”

When you’re at capacity, there is no room for anything else. But when there is space left over — when there is margin — that space enables you to breath.

Here is a free training video giving you more information on what margin is and why it’s so important.

When You LACK Margin in Your Schedule

When there is margin in your life, it brings with it a sense of contentment, simplicity, balance, and rest.

Your schedule should be simple enough that you control it, rather than it controlling you.

At the end of the day, when you look back at how you spent your time, there should be a sense of contentment. However, when you lack margin it is likely that you feel frustrated at all the things you didn’t get done and all the fires you had to react to and put out.

You should be spending your time on things that matter most to you in more than just one area of your life. Beware if there is there an area of your life that dominates your schedule and causes other areas of your life to get out of balance.

When You HAVE Margin in Your Schedule

Imagine waking up in the morning and being able to spend time doing what you want to do. Feeling rested and prepared to do awesome things.

Perhaps it’s going to the gym or going on a walk. Having time in quiet to read, think, and/or journal. Being able to make a healthy breakfast and still have time to prepare for work and begin your day doing the things that are most important.

Margin in your schedule means your day has breathing room.

And that breathing room means two things: (1) that you can set aside time for doing the things that are most important; and (2) that there is space to account for the unexpected. That’s what Margin is all about: it’s space left over.

The person with margin has taken ownership of their time and has slowly established a routine that allows for health and breathing room. The other person is, honestly, a bit out of control.

How many people do you know (yourself included) who “don’t have time,” who are “so busy?” Everyone, right? We’re all so busy. None of us have any time.

This has become the standard answer we all give when people ask us how we’re going. It’s a badge of honor, even.

I used to think that the busier I was, the more important I was. The more people who wanted me to do stuff for them, the more meetings I was invited to, the more projects I was in charge of — all of it was proof that I was important. Each additional commitment was another badge on my uniform to display to those around just how important and responsible I was.

But there’s a difference between having a full schedule and being busy. My schedule is still very much full. But it’s full with all the things I am choosing to do. Such as three meals a day with my family. Time in the evening to read. Time in the morning to write. A whole day of the week where I build trains with my boys and don’t even look at email. A date with my wife every single week.

How to Restore Margin to Your Schedule

There are so many ways you can restore (and maintain) breathing room in your day to day life.

Over the coming days, we’ll dive into them.