HOW TO Create Margin in Your Life

Monthly PlannerHOW TO Create Margin in Your Life

Last week, a reader from the Philippines emailed me in response to my “Creating Margin in 2018” Monday Morning Health Tip. He shared with me that while he longed to live with enough margin to be able to enjoy the benefits of rest, recreation, and reflection, he was unsure as to how to translate this principle into practical application—given the fact that his life seemed to have more “need to do’s” that time available to do them. He asked if I might share with him how I bring this about in MY own life.

I reasoned that if this gentleman could benefit from a practical tutorial on “Margin Creation”, many of you might want in on this, too. So, today’s Monday Morning Health Tip is the “How” to follow last week’s “What and Why”.

Often times, when people are lecturing on the subject of priorities, they use the physical example of loading up an over-sized jar with rocks, pebbles, and sand. First, they fill the jar (representing one’s life) with the sand (things that present themselves as urgent “have to’s”), then the pebbles (“got to’s”), and finally, when they try to fit in all the rocks (the truly most important things), there isn’t enough room. However, when they reverse the order of filling—rocks (top priorities), pebbles (moderate priority), and lastly, the sand—it all fits!

For me, when looking at a new calendar month (I use both a monthly calendar with lined boxes as well as an hour-based, daily planner), there are some “rocks” that I place into my schedule first. My non-negotiables are: 1) time with the Lord, both personally and corporately, 2) 7-8 hours of sleep each night, 3) exercise, 4) nutritious meals, and 5) a once weekly social event.

In order to be faithful to my top priorities, I block out specific times on my schedule for each of these “NEED TO’s” and then guard the time tenaciously! This intentional ordering of my days enables me to do all the other things in my life with strength, focus, and creativity.

Yes, like you, I still have to work, run errands, attend church functions, serve others, etc. But having the above structure in place first, allows me decide just how much to say, “Yes” to, and prompts me to streamline other things that don’t fit into my top 5 priorities since, again, like you, I only have access to 24 hours each day!

Asking the Lord what He would have me to do with each day, month, and the year ahead gives Him the permission to “mess with” my schedule—for His glory.

Now why don’t you and your daily planner give it a try?!

To return to previous Monday Morning Health Tips, click here.