We set goals for many areas of our lives. Whether it’s work, fitness, our spiritual life, family, or you fill in the blank. But have you ever thought about creating margin goals? This isn’t something we often talk about, but we should. Creating margin goals could be the key to avoiding burnout. Before we know it, we’ll be caught up in the flow of work, producing, and going after our goals, which are all good things, but without margin, it’s what leads to cycles of exhaustion. How many times have you said, “there just aren’t enough hours of the day?” Guilty right here. But to say this is to doubt that God knew what He was doing when He created rhythms of rest and work. God gave us just enough time we need to accomplish all He has called us to. And margin isn’t just about time, it’s also about money, sleep, and work. You see, we are always longing for more. The newest productivity hack. The newest trends to get more fit. The newest ways to make more money. This is why we need margin. Margin gives us space to breathe. It creates balance. It gives room for the unexpected and interruptions into your daily life.
In His book, Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, Richard Swenson, M.D. describes margin like this: “Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating.”
Creating margin goals is similar to any other goals you set. You first have to identify what areas of your life you need to set goals in.
Some examples could be:
When you clarify the areas your life could use more margin in, begin to write down goals that will help you create the margin needed. Start an emergency fund, so that away if something comes up in the middle of the year, you are prepared. Set aside finances for Christmas now, or that family vacation. Creating margin isn’t limiting, it’s freedom.
If you’ve struggled in the past with work/life separation, set a time where you will put everything away, turn the phone off, and go home to be with your family and unwind for the day. As I’ve talked about in previous blog posts here: it’s all about bookending your day. Leaving work at work, so your mind can be at rest when you go home to be with your family.
The problem isn’t that we don’t have enough time, it’s the way we are spending our time. In this article, Michael Hyatt explains how he creates his “ideal week” and says: “Margin is not something that just happens. You have to fight for it.”
Margin will not happen overnight, it takes work. But the results are worth it.
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