Lately, a lot of my conversations with friends and peers seems to revolve around the topic of margin.
The margin is the blank space on a paper that borders the written text. It is the area that can be marked up with personal notes, questions and ideas. It is free space for creativity. And many of us feel we have run out of margin in our lives. We have crammed our days so full of activity that there is no more free space to roam. A cluttered mind stifles creativity and gives way to claustrophobia.
A Cluttered Mind
Have you ever felt that there is not enough time in a day to finish your checklist? Have you ever found yourself cramming so many things into your day that you had little time for people? Do you ever have time for reflection where your thoughts can wander uninhibited?
I confess that I have put off playing with my kids or being present in conversations at home or with friends because I was thinking ahead to what I had to do next on my list. I have missed out on enjoyment, laughter and genuine relationships because I was more concerned with checking a box on a to-do list than checking in with those I love the most.
It’s really crazy and unhealthy.
And I somehow believed that my flurry of activity and multi-tasking was effective.
I tried to balance multiple activities/meetings/tasks in a short time frame instead of focusing on and finishing one thing at a time. I felt busier than a one-armed juggler! It’s exhausting, and eventually, things drop.
A Margined Mind
I may be a slow learner, but I am a learner.
I’ve made these margin-making changes. I don’t try to squeeze every ounce out of my day. I give myself room (margin) between meetings and appointments. Now I take time to reflect during my day and turn off the noise and alarms of my phone, computer, and even car stereo periodically. These small margin moments have sparked creativity and given me breaks that rejuvenate my mind, body, and soul.
We weren’t meant to write on every square inch of the paper. Nor were we meant to pound productivity out of every minute of the day (even though it is tempting to try).
To live this principle out, even though there is so much more I want to say about margin, I will stop now. You get the picture. Leave some room in your day for the unexpected. It might be a conversation, a coffee, or a life lesson in a blog post.
See you next week.