Creating Margin

We live in a busy world. Busy is deemed as good. Busy is how we see the world around us functioning. So in order for us to survive and thrive and be successful we must also be busy. Because the mentality is that busy is productive and productivity is success.

The reality is that being busy doesn’t necessarily equate to anything other than you are always doing something, always going somewhere, always onto the next thing, always in motion.

It pains me to think about when I am eight years old and look back and the only thing I can think of is being busy. Not the difference I made or the thing I developed or the impact I’ve created around me.

It’s essential to create margin.

Sleep is essential for a thriving and healthy body, not to mention your total wellness and wellbeing. Our brains are sharper with sleep. Sleep recharges the batteries and refuels the tank. That’s margin—giving yourself the space for adequate amounts of sleep to live a healthy life.

Margin is also doing nothing.

Having space in your day with absolutely zero obligations. Maybe it’s just reading a book or spontaneously finding things to do with your family; walks, putting together puzzles, ice cream parlor trips.

The idea is to leave margin in your day. Meaning, looking at your calendar having pockets of nothing. Having this mindset forces you to say no to the things that don’t matter. They push you to say no to the things that don’t align with your values.

You don’t have to be busy.

You don’t have to pursue every opportunity or be everywhere. When opportunities or requests come knocking on your door, pause and ask yourself, “How will giving myself wholeheartedly to this thing make me feel?”

If it’s something that makes you feel the way you want to feel, say yes. If it’s something you know is going to cause you pain in your day, or stress, or anxiety, say no. It’s not for you.

You absolutely have the right to say no to things and have the privilege of saying yes to the things that matter most to you. Tweet this

Living life with no margin creates pure exhaustion. Sure, you’re living life and experiencing, but at the same time, you become so burnt out of life the enjoyment and fulfillment that it once brought you vanishes.

So, look at your day. Is there margin for spontaneity and boredom and play and silence and the mundane? If not, create the margin your life is craving. Learn to say no more often.

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About Eric Ungs

Eric Ungs writes about a journey of intentional self growth, nudging you to let go; to give yourself permission to be vulnerable and honest with yourself so you can give your best self to others. Author of 10 Incredible Ways to Live a Fulfilling and Joyful Life ebook.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Eric, great post. It is crazy to me that in today’s world you have to be actively busy doing something like working, running errands, or studying in the eyes of many people. But when it comes to taking time for yourself like a simple walk with your dogs or heck even four hours of sleep a night we feel bad for taking that time. When you talk about living life with no margin and how it creates exhaustion I couldn’t agree with you more. We need to be able to take time for ourselves and do things we love to create a balanced life.

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