How Adding Margin to Your Life Helps… Just About Everything!

We’re busy. Productive. Motivated. We’re here to help every single customer that comes to us, to make their day better, to improve society as a whole. Great! And yet, the busier we are, the more potential there is for collateral damage. What I mean is, being productive is beneficial, sure, but being consistently “maxed out” is a disaster waiting to happen. We need time and space to think and reflect on how we’re doing throughout the day. Small and frequent course corrections will yield a far better result than large and infrequent ones. Margin allows us to do that.

Margin as a business term is often thought of in terms of money – any successful businessperson knows that you absolutely need margin on top of your costs to make profit. Then why do we think we can book ourselves solid with almost no breaks and personally profit from the day? Money is a resource, but so is your mental and physical health. Invest in them, and continue to build each day up to be better than the last.

Ok, so margin is important for money and for your personal performance. How do you find the time to build it in, when you’re already booked solid? The thing to realize is that time spent working does not equal productive time. By adding breaks around each major task you give your mind time to reflect on what you just did, and prepare itself for the next task. Once your mind has time to recharge on the break, it’s far more ready to attack the next to-do with more efficiency.

Of course there’s a balance here. How much time/margin you build around tasks is up to you, just experiment and find what works. But definitely try it out! Wouldn’t it be nice to be early to meetings without having to rush through anything, to have more mental energy left to spend at the end of the day for friends and family, to… dare I say it, enjoy your job more?

To recap, here are some benefits to adding margin in your life:

  1. Margins help you stay sane in an overly-busy culture
  2. Leaving margins means you get more done in less time, with less stress
  3. Margins help prevent unforeseen events from derailing your day
  4. Margins help you to be mindful and reflect on what you just did, so you can do it better next time
  5. Having margin in your life gives you more energy to use outside of work