A fascinating thought developed in the shutdown. Perhaps, working from home would create a different pace than working in the office.
As idyllic as that thought became, many people described their workload become even more demanding. Instead of having a set time and place for work, people could fill in the gaps of their day. Juggling family and kids brought on another sense of pressure.
We still find ourselves amid a pandemic. Some of our standard routines have restarted. We must look back at the last six months and reflect on this question — how can we create healthy margins in our lives?
Richard Swenson literally wrote the book on Margin, defines it as,
“Margin is the space between our limits as human beings and the expectations placed upon us by society, by ourselves and even by technological progress.”
Margin by Richard Swenson
Shutdown or no shutdown, our society has an underlining issue with filling our schedules. The gift we have in front of us invites us to reset. You can envision a sustainable pace rather than succumbing to the marathon on activity this season.
I want to share a few ideas about creating margins in your schedule for a more sustainable pace:
1. Think harmony, not balance.
A mentor, Dr. H. Robert Rhoden, said to me once, “Balance requires equality, but harmony brings unity.” Not everything in your schedule is created equal, but it does need unification. The work-life part is real, but balance is like trying to find a unicorn. Search for a more unifying pace of schedule.
2. See your day in sections of morning, afternoon, and evening.
Pastor Russ Smith, a friend from Binghamton, handed me a document with three sections, “morning, afternoon, and evening.” Most of us can work two parts while needing one for family and rest. More and more of us will have a flexible work schedule rather than a 9–5 job. How you organize your day will become increasingly critical for margin.
3. Schedule margin.
I’ll never forget listening to Frank Bealer on share his schedule on the Carey Nieuwhof podcast (click here). He shared about “filling the calendar” with margin. It can seem antithetical, but if you fill the calendar with rest, you can’t fill it with something else. I recently interviewed a therapist, Jennifer Frary, who shared that her family instituted a “couch” day for nothing. Margin can’t happen without planning.
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4. Sometimes you sprint, sometimes you jog, but you need rest.
Sprint weeks include full schedules. Jog weeks have a standard pace. When you have a sprint week, place the margin in the following week. On jog weeks, you can decipher adding more. No matter what, you need rest. Sometimes when you feel exhausted, take a moment to ask, “Am I sprinting or jogging?”
5. Honor the margins of the people around you.
Last night, I watched the episode of The Office when Jim and Pam went on their honeymoon. They received a few phone calls with “emergencies.” The humor turns serious when we realize how often we text, call, or email people in their margins. Protect the margins of others, because they need rest also.
As a follower of Jesus, the Bible recovers our humanity by inviting us to rest. Margins are much more than a productivity practice, but one of great spiritual significance. You were never meant to live on empty.
How have you learned to create margins in your life? Share in the comment section below.
Originally published at https://peterenglert.com on August 17, 2020.