One of the books that has impacted my life (at least my thinking, if not my actions just yet) is the book, Margins by Richard Swenson.  The idea is that we have our lives too crammed full of commitments and possessions and we are getting sick because of the stress of it all.  Of course this applies to most people in varying degrees.  It certainly applies to me.

So the word “Margin” is now a part of our family vocab: we understand the concept, we are working towards the reality.

Today we had a real-life lesson on Margins.  Jessica is working on a publishing project – a recipe book which will be given as a Mother’s Day gift to the mums who come to Mainly Music.  She has been working on it diligently over the last few weeks and it has come together well.  Yesterday some of the team got together to help put it all together and unfortunately a few things have gone wrong with the printing, cutting and collating.  This has turned out to be a great lesson for Jessica, and a reminder for us all.

When managing a project you need margin.

We can falsely have the idea that the margin we need in our life is to be empty space and though we do need rest I believe margin is in our life for a bigger reason than just rest (though believe me I need to learn the “rest” lesson myself!!)  I believe we have margin to be used if necessary.

We have margin in our time so when something unplanned happens, we can make the most of the new opportunity.

  • We have margin with our energy so when someone needs us we have the energy to give to them.
  • We have margin with our money so when something unexpected happens we have the resources to deal with it.
  • We have margin in our possessions so we have room for people in our life.

Margins aren’t just time out from relationships and responsibilities. Margins are the space we give ourselves in order to deal with things that come our way – out of the blue.

Whenever managing a project this is a good concept to remember: we need to plan margin, don’t push things to the limit, have some breathing space, that way when the unexpected happens (and it is likely to happen) you have the time, energy and emotions to deal with it.  If we had planned the collating party for Jessica’s project the day before Mainly Music we would have been stressed, but because we had days between we are able to re-do the job and get it right.  A good lesson to learn.

There is an everyday lesson for us mums to learn from this too.  Do we have margin in our day or have we jammed each and every minute with activity? Activity for us such as cooking, cleaning, making, teaching or activity for the kids – either way if we roll from one activity to the next the chances are we don’t have margin in our day.  We don’t have margin to enjoy a giggle with our children, we don’t have margin to enjoy a project they have cleverly put together, we don’t have time to talk to our children about incidental but significant things, we don’t have margin to deal with those unexpected things.

Margin isn’t about resting and doing nothing necessarily, margin is about having enough left over to do those things that God puts in our day.

Do you have margin today?

Over to you:

What tips do you have to create margin in your day? Please leave a comment – your tip or story may be the encouragement someone else needs to hear.

Further Reading:

Take time to Enjoy Your Children: Take the time to enjoy your children – live in the moment and notice the little things. It doesn’t take much but it does take an intentional choice

You Can’t do it all: Sometimes you have to ask for help:  Asking for help is hard but sometimes we need to acknowledge that we can’t do it all and we have to be honest and brave enough ask for help.

5 Decision to Help Me Live in the Moment: To live in the moment is an issue of contentment – and it becomes a day by day choice I have to make.

 

Margin helps us manage our projects as much as our energy. Do you have margin in your day or do you run from activity to activity?

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Margin helps us manage our projects as much as our energy. Do you have margin in your day or do you run from activity to activity?

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