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Create More Margin in Your Life

Dec 10, 2023

Read time: 3 minutes

This is the second installment of our mini-series Clarity Concepts for Better Living. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll cover various topics geared toward helping us navigate self-doubt and the many other emotions we feel when facing huge decisions. If you missed last week’s issue on the difference between thoughts and thinking, check it out here.

Do you remember when you were asked to write a research report or essay on a specific topic in high school or college?

Do you also remember the strict formatting rules?

(Your paper must be a minimum of X pages long, double spaced, 11 or 12-point font, Times New Roman, with a 1” margin. All sources must be cited)

Do you remember this? Or is it just me?

As someone who loved every bit of writing growing up, I once had these formatting guidelines memorized and could pump out an essay in no time.

But there was always that one professor who would throw a curve ball and switch things up on me.

The most common change was the margin requirement. Rather than asking for a 1” margin on all four sides, they would ask for a wider margin to have more space to leave comments.

Now, why am I sharing this with you?

On the surface, it may seem as though I’m reminiscing about writing school essays. And that may be partially true.

But I’m actually priming you to think differently about creating a wider margin—not on paper, but in life.

Defining margin

Margin is the space between our load and our limits. This is easy to visualize when talking about a research report or essay.

The “load” is the words written or typed on the page. The “limit” is the width of the page.

But this can be harder to consider when looking at your life.

So here’s another way to think about it.

Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating. Margin is the opposite of overload.

Fighting for more margin

If you are overloaded, you have zero margin.

In the context of writing, this would make for an unreadable essay. Don’t you think?

Parallel to this, this would also make for a challenging and unsustainable day-to-day routine in the context of life.

The problem is that setting marginal boundaries in life is not as straightforward as writing an essay on paper.

This is because we’re all very different with different circumstances and load capacities.

However, we can do a few things to help ensure that the space between our load and our limits is as wide as possible.

Creating margin in life

Here are some things to consider to help you create more margin in your life.

Determine what matters – We’re often in a reactive state, trying to do and be everything at all times, not realizing that our resources, energy, and attention are finite. So rather than attempting to create margin through more effort, a longer to-do list, later nights, or a bigger home, ask yourself: What are the most important things? You’ll likely discover that what matters differs from what you’ve been giving yourself to. (If you need help with this step, start with my core values worksheet).

Declutter – Look at your home, thoughts, emotions, calendar, and commitments. Remove everything that is not necessary. Your answer from the previous step should make this process much more manageable.

Automate anything that doesn’t require your direct involvement – The area to focus on here is your finances. Consider setting up auto-pay for different bills or use a budgeting app with built-in reminders.

Why does this matter?

The more margin you create, the more space you’ll have for the things that matter.

Additionally, if you’re currently contemplating a huge life decision, having a wide margin gives you the wiggle room to take as long as you need to ensure you make the best decision.

Whenever you’re ready, here’s how I can help you:

The Decluttering Starter Kit: Skip the overwhelm and jumpstart your decluttering journey. This comprehensive course will teach and guide you through my multi-step action plan for decluttering with less overwhelm and more progress each week. Get access here.

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