I have really struggled with today’s post. Not for a lack of ideas but a lack of words to put to those ideas. So I’ve been looking inward and trying to figure out why. Then it hit me. I’ve left no margin in my life for the last week. Take away that margin and creativity, sometimes motivation and definitely clarity can go out the window. At least for me.
Margin – think about a document you are typing up. Usually by default your word processor will add in 1 – 1 1/2 inch margin on all 4 sides of your document. It looks better, it looks clean, it doesn’t look so crowded. We have the same option in our lives, most of the time. There are times when you have to make sacrifices and just go for it. There are seasons when your focus needs to be on one thing – starting a business, taking a big test, redoing a website, dealing with an illness, a new baby arrives. There are situations where our focus and attention are demanded, it happens, it’s life.
No matter the season and no matter the situation, there are consequences of filling up our time so fully that we leave out margin or breathing room to stop, smell the roses and take stock of our situation. That is what has happened to me this past week and as a result of my complete focus on a project seems to have sucked the creativity right out of me for writing blog posts.
I’m in the middle of a re-branding project for my main business of WordPress website consulting and developing. This past week my writing has been focused on website content and my design ideas on setting up the website. For about 3 days I was on the computer non-stop and until late into the evening. Which is fine, it needed to be done, the deadline I had given myself is fast approaching and I’m just ready for it to be done now!
At times like these we have to be prepared for the consequences that result from this drive. The house might not get cleaned, the dishes may pile up, the laundry pile get huge and the blog post may or may not get written. What we need to aim for is margin most of the time – so far I haven’t seen that building margin into my life works day in and day out, 365 days a year. When I do build it in to my daily routine it makes a humongous difference and I feel so much better. When I don’t or when I have a huge deadline where the margin gets narrower and narrower or even disappears for a time, I’m so relieved to get it back into my life.
This is something I am still learning and trying to figure out too. These huge deadlines – is the big push at the end because I didn’t build in enough margin at the outset of the project? Is it that I set my personal deadline too early? Is it just life and it happens this way so we deal with it and move on? Maybe it is a bit of all of it.
One of the best messages I have ever heard about the importance of margin, breathing room, in your life was a sermon by Andy Stanley. Click here to listen. This is a message I have listened to over and over because it is so easy to forget and think that breathing room is not important, but it is.
My goal is to build in margin on a regular basis and that occasionally means working my tail off and then taking time off as soon as that is accomplished. What about you, do you build a margin in your life?
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer, and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her dogs. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. She is also the author of several books, and now with the Selah Journal: A reflective journal and mini-retreat. Start your own daily gratitude practice with our, “7 Days of Gratitude Challenge – A Gratitude Journal Starter Kit”.