I have just gone through an incredibly busy time in my life and business. Last year was extraordinary, but it was also exhausting. Last weekend, I found myself feeling overwhelmed and discouraged.
I knew it was time to stop the merry-go-round, take a deep breath, and recalibrate. That’s what I did on Monday. I knew if I didn’t, I would soon end up burned out—or worse. Are you feeling the same way?
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In his excellent book, Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, Richard Swenson, M.D. describes margin like this:
Margin is the space between our load and our limits. It is the amount allowed beyond that which is needed. It is something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations. Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating.
The problem is that very few people know what margin is, let alone ever experience it. So why don’t we have any? Why are we so overcommitted and crazy-busy?
While external causes are a factor, most of us lose margin because of something a little more personal: our own fear.
- Fear of missing an opportunity.
- Fear of disappointing others.
- Fear of being left out.
- Fear of being judged.
Here are six ways you and I can reclaim lost margin and restore sanity to your lives.
- Recognize your current load is unsustainable.
- Acknowledge that the real problem is you.
- Develop an abundance mindset.
- Create your ideal week.
- Enroll the people around you.
- Put it into practice.
Life is a long-distance run not a sprint. If you and I are going to be effective over the long-term, we have to create margin and pace ourselves.
- Karl Rosenblum asked, “What system do you use for filing electronic documents?”
- Mark DeJesus asked, “How do I decide whether to make an article a single post or a series?”
- Steve Stewart asked, “How do you know when to persevere and when to give-up?”
Tip of the Week
I spent a few days recently getting up to speed on Expensify, which is a cool little app for keeping up with your expenses. I have it on my iPhone, but I also use the web version. It is very powerful. It makes keeping up with expenses a breeze.
For example, you can take a photo of an expense, tag it with the appropriate category, make a comment or two, and then add it to an expense report. It even interfaces with QuickBooks, so your accountant or bookkeeper doesn’t have to re-key the data.
I also found a great Expensify video training series at Grovo.
In this episode I mentioned several resources, including:
- Book: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
- Book: Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard Swenson, M.D.
- Download: My Ideal Week (Excel spreadsheet)
- Download: My Ideal Week (PDF)
- Grovo: Learn How to Use Expensify
- Podcast: Episode 64: Two Kinds of Thinkers: Which One Are You?
- Screencast: How to Launch a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog in 20 Minutes or Less
- Software: Expensify
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Question: Do you feel like you are out of margin? If so, what are you going to do about it? You can leave a comment by clicking here.