It was a “Kodak” moment. I turned on my cell phone excited to take the perfect picture. Instead, I got the message “Cannot Take Photo. There is not enough available storage…”
At once the metaphor hit me. Our phone is a reflection of our life. We add apps, calendars, texts, emails, maps, music, games, social media and photos until we use every last megabyte of storage. In the same way, we cram our homes, yards and garages so full that we need to get extra storage. We cram so much into our schedule we often forget items, arrive late, or frazzled. When the unexpected happens our stress level soars and frustration rises. We have no margin.
In graphic design margin creates something that is pleasing to the eyes. In a home leaving enough empty space creates an environment of serenity. In life creating margin improves our health, gives us a sense of balance and peace of mind
I used to drive myself to exhaustion, often working 7 days a week. My schedule was bordering on insanity! I ran a successful corporation, home educated my 3 children, led a community Bible Study and coached a champion high school speech club, just to mention a few. I have since learned how to work only 4 days a week and earn more than when I worked 7 days. I am able to vacation every month and enjoy the people and things I value. My schedule and my home feel light. What did I do to create margin in my life?
Here a few margin creating tips that I use:
- Start with the end in mind. What does an ideal day, week, and year look like for you? How many days a week do you desire to work? How many weeks do you desire to vacation?
- Build your calendar by design not default. Schedule the most important activities first and then fill in anything else around that. I block off every morning for prayer, meditation and personal development reading. I schedule my work in the afternoon. I keep my nights free for some of my favorite activities like dancing.
- Create a themes for each day. Batch activities. I schedule all my coaching clients in one city on Thursdays. My hair stylist and chiropractor happen to be in that city as well so I make my appointments with them on that same day. This keeps me from having to drive to that area more than once a week. I schedule writing on Mondays. Since I can do this without going out I can spend less time doing my hair and make up on that day. I also like to keep Wednesdays open to break up the week. This gives me time to relax and makes the other days more productive.
- Declutter your mind by moving your “to do” list onto paper. Take 5-10 minutes and write down every single thing that needs to be done. Be sure to include maintenance and repairs on your car and home. List area at home and work that need to be decluttered like closets, garages and attics. Include unanswered emails, unpaid bills and calls you need to make. All these are energy leaks and mental exhaustion.
- Schedule a “Take Back Your Power Day”. This is a day or weekend completely dedicated to delegating and doing every single item on the above list. I use two mental tricks to keep me moving. First, I imagine I will receive a million dollars if I complete the list. This eliminates the excuse that it is not possible. Second, I give myself an actual reward like buying a new outfit or going to eat at a favorite place if I complete the list. Besides the peace I get, these gives me fun incentive.
Do you have questions or margin creating ideas and suggestions? Leave your comments below or share on facebook www.facebook.com/prosperinallthings . For a free coaching session email me Brenda@prosperinallthings.com