Ever feel like the fast forward button has been pushed? Even with all the advanced technology it seems like more and more must fit into a day. The days of rocking on the front porch, sipping tea and shooting the breeze is a thing of the past – or is it?
No matter how demanding life gets, I still chose how I will use my time. Tasks may come my way that I can’t avoid, and some seasons are busier than others. Ultimately what my life is about is up to me.
This season for me includes keeping up with normal daily life, running two businesses, and moving to a new state. Juggling life, getting packed and working is no easy task. There are things I just can’t do right now – they don’t fit within the 24 hours I have been given.
There are other things that are non-negotiable. They must fit in my day in some way: things like my time with God – it feeds my soul; planning my day – it keeps me on track; and working out – it gives me the energy I will need to navigate my day. And I must have time to spare for the important people in my life.
When my life is maxed out and I have no time for people, everyone suffers. We were made for relationships!
When my children lived at home, they rarely made appointments with me to share what was on their minds. Sometimes they shared at meal times when it was convenient. Most of the time they would seek me out just before bedtime and our conversations would go into the wee hours. Because I normally get plenty of sleep, giving up a few hours of sleep here or there did not do me in.
In the same way, having time for the people we lead is essential. Always giving off the vibe that you are too busy or in a hurry creates a barrier between you and those you serve. That disconnect in your working relationships will eventually cost you significantly. Making space for people will convey just how much you value them and demonstrate that you are eager and available to help.
In Old Testament times, it was against Hebrew law to harvest all the grain in your field. The edges, or “a margin” of a field, were left so that the less fortunate could harvest what was left. This was known as gleaning. You may remember that Ruth was able to provide for Naomi by gleaning in Boaz’s field. You can read all about it in Ruth 2.
By not harvesting all of the crops, enough was left over for those in need.
Every season will have things that pull at me – not just this moving season. How can I create more “margin” in my life so that I have time leftover for me and for others?
1. Know who and what God has called me to be.
2. Be clear on my values – they will guide how I use my time.
3. Leave space between activities and obligations. Over-scheduling is exhausting and leaves little space for others.
4. Learn to say no.
5. Refuse to hurry. Take things slow and do them well. It will save me time in the long run.
6. Put first things first. Sticking to my priorities will soon reveal what I don’t have room for in my life.
7. Learn to delegate.
8. Keep the Sabbath. Taking time to rest is rejuvenating enabling you to get more done later.
9. Work smarter, not harder.
10. Limit time suckers like social media, TV, and texting.
How would your life and leadership be different if you had more margin in your day? How does your lack of margin affect those around you? What steps do you need to take to create margin? What have you done to successfully create margin in your life and leadership?