One of the most overlooked ways that people become disorganized is failing to build margin into their days. Lack of boundaries and good time management leave people stressed and overcommitted. Here are some specific ways – in the fabric of your daily life – you can create margin to slow down, be present, and truly enjoy your life.
Nearly everyone is speeding through life, careening from one thing to another. We are hurtling down the freeway of life, running up against the guardrail, screeching along, no time to slow down. Many of us are going through life like this, on the thin edge of surviving.
This busting-through-life way of living leaves carnage in our paths. Home carnage, relational carnage, job carnage. We’re drowning…and our life, environment, career, and – most importantly – those we love the most are suffering.
Modern life presents so many more demands than ever before and we have kept taking more on our plates without creating space to decompress and reset.
Living Up Against the Guardrail
Here’s how it looks to live up against the guardrail of life…
We don’t allow any room time for re-grouping, let alone THINKING. We are surviving, and we feel we can’t slow down if we are to “keep up” with all the demands. But with every activity and commitment we add, we slip out of our lane, past the white boundary line and toward the unforgiving metal barrier. Our choices have eroded the margin in our life.
If you wonder why your house looks like a hurricane disaster, could it be that you’re home only long enough to mess it up (and then you’re off to the next thing)?
If the bills aren’t getting paid, mail isn’t being processed, and papers aren’t filed, could it be that you’re simply never in your office longer than to check your email or put out immediate fires?
By riding up against the guardrail, we experience a constant screeching in our life…metal on metal.
Those who feel overwhelmed by their chaos know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s that feeling of alarm of having struck something that is our last stop before we head over the cliff. We know we are living on the edge of sanity and safety.
But sadly, for many this bumper pool of danger has become a way of life. We know we can’t keep it up, but we don’t know how to stop.
JUST STOP. It’s that simple.
The guardrail is trying to tell you something. You’re about to plunge into danger. Maybe off a cliff!
You need more room for error, more time to think, to regain some sanity.
Pull over. Attend to the scrapes in your side caused by living this way. Put some air in the tires. Give yourself a deep clean.
Think about – I mean really ponder, reflect, and even journal – why you’re even going so fast and where you are headed. Most people living without margin have actually forgotten where they’re headed, what the point is, and what they want the outcome to be.
If you’ve stopped enjoying the road trip and sights along the way, it’s time to figure out why and reclaim your life!
If you are suffering from high-speed living, download our FREE worksheet on this subject here! This guide will walk you through taking an inventory of your life – what’s working and what’s not – and help you identify areas of your life where more margin would make a difference. It’s the first step in taking back control of your life!
Create Margin with Time Management
Use these practical time management strategies to adequately build time into your life to avoid the carnage of high-speed living:
BUILD IN DAILY MARGIN
In my own journey, I’ve learned the importance of margin and restful living over a period of several years. It took me a long time to realize (in fact, a dear friend pointed it out!) that REST is the first 4 letters of Restoring Order!! Wow! In other words, to experience true and lasting restored living, we must BEGIN with a restful mindset!
Building in restful ways to our daily life helps us to intentionally SLOW DOWN our frantic pace and create the order we desire. True order comes from a place of rest. Now, I don’t mean sleep or naps or even vacations when I say “rest”!
By “rest”, I mean a mindset and an approach to life that comes from an empowered, intentional place. True rest is actually peace!
When we prioritize daily respite we can experience abundant living.
We are all wired differently, but in my own life and journey, I find I need time to:
- Be Still
If I don’t get this time, I can get hyper task-focused and start running fast (with an unknown destination!). Living this way too long causes me to get stuck in a bodily response of fight-or flight! So, for me, there’s consequences to NOT allowing for margin in my life. That’s why I’ve learned to build in daily “space” for this practice.
We honor our bodies and our soul by taking time to recuperate, think, and reset. Margin keeps our mind, body, and spirit running properly.
What do YOU need to create DAILY “space” for in your own life? Share with us in the comments what you need room for, and how you’re going to do it – you might just inspire someone else!
LEVERAGE HEALTH & BEAUTY ROUTINES FOR RESPITE
When we are living a busy life, taking time for ourselves can feel unproductive or even selfish, given all the demands upon us.
We go from bed to car in no time flat, eating our coffee breakfast at the wheel and combing our hair in the rearview. Sound remotely familiar? This way of living has a serious impact on our health and wellbeing!
One way to create margin in your life is to optimize the practices you’re already doing. Your daily health and beauty practices are a good place to start.
Too often, we think of our health and beauty practices as regimens, rather than respite. These daily routines can be transformed into a time to regroup and recharge.
How you can add respite into your health routine:
- Put on lotion while you’re doing a slow morning stretch
- Create a comfortable and peaceful space for stretching
- Listen to music (I like listening to healing or soaking music while I’m stretching or exercising; this helps me listen to my body at the same time instead of “pump you up” music that adds to the stressors of life)
- Catch an inspirational podcast (avoid topics that will just help you “do more”; focus on those that build your spirit!)
- Smooth on castor oil on your torso for organ detoxification at night while you’re in your evening ramp-down
Nurturing yourself first and filling your own tank each day allows you to pour into others from a place of wholeness.
We cannot give away that which we don’t first possess.
If you want to be a force of love, peace, joy, wholeness in the world, invest time in creating those things for yourself first. This begins with allowing time for personal care and nurture.
If healthy living is something you want to explore more, we’ve got lots of great blogs that show you how to create systems around your home to make it easier.
Our beauty and self-care regimen is also a daily practice that we can use to intentionally SLOW DOWN our frantic pace and start our day intentionally.
How to add respite to your beauty routine:
- Give yourself the gift of “me time” around your hair and makeup routine
- Clean out and organize your makeup stash
- Upgrade your body and facial products to natural and organic ingredients
- Post reminders about your identity and beauty around your vanity to start your day with truth
Now that we are transforming the way we approach our health and beauty routines, we will start our day feeling more fresh and grounded.
Speaking of “grounded,” if you want to offload a bunch of stress and inflammation (a direct result of stress), an incredibly simple and FREE way to do this is to simply get your bare feet in the ground every morning.
We all know that there’s something holy about being out in the woods and connected to nature. There’s a reason for that! The earth has a healing frequency that absorbs our “junk” and resets our own dissonant frequency back to earth ground. Seriously, Trevor and I and my boys have begun grounding every day and we are seeing these results:
- Immediate de-stressing
- Drastically improved sleep
- Massively reduced inflammation and bodily complaints
Connecting yourself to the earth is so great for your health and a long-lost experience for most of us. Try it and let us know what you think!
I hope you’ll use these ideas – or create your own – to start your day with margin rather than barreling into your day. Simple, intentional margin-makers create a kinder, gentler day!
Effective time management begins with building in time for yourself every morning to set the tone for your whole day. Instead of rushing through life, you can experience and respond with empowerment to what the day has for you – whole and grounded and present.
Effective time management begins with building in time for yourself every morning to set the tone for your whole day.
Create margin around high-drain activities with these time management strategies:
BEFORE AND AFTER TRIPS
Most of us are living a grab-and-dash lifestyle.
Our packed schedules leave so little time for actual thought that when it’s time for interruptive activities, like travel, preparing for trips becomes a circus. We grab our suitcase the night before a trip and throw in enough clothes for a year-long sabbatical. We cut into our sleep time to rush around and pack and we usually begin our trips exhausted, hoping we didn’t forget anything.
When we return from travel, we all-too-often jump back onto the speeding freeway of life with no time to regroup. We end up living out of our suitcase – sometimes for weeks – after we get home.
There’s laundry, cosmetics and personal effects to put away and suitcases to store and exactly zero time to attend to these extra tasks.
Time management tips to avoid this travel clutter- and stress-inducing scenario:
- Allow up to a full day on either side of trips: When planning your trip, allow up to a full day on either side to prepare and reset. Build this time into your trip plan! Giving yourself margin to pack and unpack, do laundry, and return everything to its home will allow you to be more present and productive going forward. It’s worth it!
- Add prep and reset time to your calendar: A major key to time management is allowing the appropriate amount of time in your calendar to accomplish the necessary task. Block this time out on your calendar so it will be protected from other commitments and demands.
- Schedule a date with loved ones to reconnect: You are not the only one who suffers from the whirlwind of ill-managed time around your trip. Your loved ones may also need time for reconnection. Schedule a date to slow down and catch up.
- Capture information from trip: For business trips, schedule time to sit down an enter contact information gathered on the trip. Perhaps thank you notes are appropriate. For personal trips, allow time to capture the memorabilia gathered and document the memories made.
BEFORE AND AFTER BIG EVENTS
A special birthday celebration, retirement event, holiday gathering – these joyous occasions can spell disaster for your home if you fail to create margin around them.
Even events that take place outside of your home that demand a lot of your time can send you into the guardrail of life.
Events take a lot of planning, prep, set up, and tear down. They add extra layers of archeology to your already busy life.
Create margin around events with these time management tips:
- Build in time to your schedule for the run up and reset, especially for events that you’re hosting. This may mean saying “no” to other offers for commitments to protect the time surrounding the event.
- Take into consideration the WHOLE event’s needs & assemble a team to help! Using your community will spread out the work and it’s more fun in community anyway!
- Create a hospitality area to facilitate set up and tear down. With some forethought and organization you can streamline your event management!
- Keep event bin with nametags, pens, or any frequently used items
- Create themed boxes for parties you may host recurrently (luau, disco, Christmas)
- Carve out storage space for easy access to your hospitality items. Read how I’ve done that in my own home here
Giving yourself margin moves you off the guardrail of life, back into the flow, back into your lane.
Living with margin allows you to live intentionally and with the presence of mind to actually enjoy the sites and sounds of the journey.
To Reclaim Your Life, begin with creating margin. Overcoming overwhelm and getting back to what matters most in life requires our action to get off the needless speed race we’ve allowed.
I hope you will use our free worksheet to think, journal, and take action towards a more humane, peaceful life!
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