December 10, 2008
You are barely getting things done, feeling a little behind, but then you get sick, or your kids gets sick or the car breaks down. All of the sudden you are panicking.
When there are no margins in your life, if the unexpected happens it feels like things are falling apart.
We tend to think life should go smoothly. We can make a terrific plan that will fit what we need to get done.
But have you ever noticed that something unexpected happens just about every day. You may realize you are almost out of gas, or the cat needs to go to the vet, or you can’t find your keys or the printer won’t work or a friend needs to talk or your computer gets a virus or you get a distressing call.
In reality, the unexpected is to be expected.
Things are more likely not to go as planned than to go as planned. And you are kidding yourself if you think a scheduled day with no room will go just how you want it to.
So what can you do about it?
Do you have margin in your life? When you map out your day, do you add time for traffic, uncooperative kids and the "unexpected?"
Do you have space in between your tasks to re-evaluate your priorities or just check in with yourself?
Are you being realistic with what you can accomplish each day?
When there is no margin, you feel rushed and frazzled. One snag and anxiety rules.
One of my clients added an urgent hour to her work day after keeping track of her time for a week. She discovered about an hour of her day was handling urgent tasks that came in. If she had planned every minute of her day, she would be behind just about every day. Now whenever something urgent comes up, she moves what she had originally planned to her urgent hour.
Traffic is always a big unexpected. So, how about leaving 10 minutes early for all your appointments? And stop what you are doing in time to gather what you need, get your shoes and coat on and grab your keys. Picture how relaxed you will feel if you know you are getting someplace on time.
Meltdown time for many families. People are hungry and tired. You can try to start preparing dinner earlier instead of after sorting mail, etc. Make a menu plan for the week, so you know what you are going to eat and whether you have the food on hand. Defrost the meat the night before.
If you can’t find any extra space in your schedule, you can either continue to rush and feel strained or you can eliminate activities. Let go of a class, duty, meeting, leadership position, TV watching or kid sport. Your health and well-being is worth it.
Not only do margins create less stress, they allow you to be more present in your life and connect more with the people in your life.
How will you create more margin in your life?