Friday, January 21, 2011

Marginless time.




















Lately we hear a lot about "margin."

The business definition of "Gross margin", (sales minus direct costs) is what is left over after costs associated directly with the sale of a product or service.

Reminded me of a book I read called, Margin: Restoring the Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives.

In it the author Dr. Swenson also discusses "margin."

Only he defines it as "the space between where we live and our actual limits."

It's basically the reserve we set aside for contingencies or any unexpected situations.

Too often we maintain very little, if any, margin in our lives.

Yet, there are consequences to a "marginless" lifestyle.

How do I restore the "margin" in my life?

I try and always focus on the actual use of my time.

I keep an eye on what and where I am spending my time.

A good way to determine how you are spending your time is to make an inventory and journal where you are spending it and how much time you are allocating for each activity.

You'll soon find that your calendar is constantly full.

You might also find that you are taking on more demands then you are able to adequately meet.

I determine what's most important and trim back on anything that isn't fulfilling my priorities.

Don't get me wrong - it's not about doing less but rather getting the right things done.

In order to de-stress my life, I also have made it a habit to allow just a bit more time to do the things I am planning on doing.

We all know that typically things take longer to complete than we anticipate they will.

This is one of the reasons that we have so little "time margin".

Same goes for my calendar, I purposely don't overload it.

I always leave ample time in reserve for what is important, or for any unexpected opportunity.

As Dr. Swenson writes in his book, "If we are to make the kind of impact in this world that we'd like, we need to move beyond "schedulability" to "availability!"

Especially making time for the important matters that can't be planned in advance. 

It's your "margin" what are you going to do with all that extra time?

Make it a great dia!