What’s your margin?

How much margin do you have in your life?

  • Are your days filled to the edges, with no “white space” to spare?
  • Is your desk overloaded with papers and other objects, with no extra space available?
  • Is your checkbook suffering from negative margin–i.e., not enough funds to cover expenses?
  • Are you always the last breathless person to board the subway, train or plane?
Paper margins

Image in public domain

Inserting some ease into your life has a lot to do with “buffers” or reserves — the extra time, space, energy and other resources that you have to spare. If you chronically run on low margin, you’re probably not feeling easeful, and you’re adding unnecessary stress to your system.

In his book, Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, Dr. Richard Swenson describes the equation “Power – Load = Margin.”  Power includes the various resources (e.g., strength, time, supports) you have available. Load refers to responsibilities, expectations, and obligations. If the load is greater than the power, you have no leeway or extra capacity to handle the demand.

Try this:  Begin paying attention to margin in your work and personal life. Notice how close to careen toward deadlines, how tired you are at the end of the day, how pinched you are for pennies.

Consider what kinds of buffers you could create to give your life a greater sense of spaciousness and room to maneuver. What could you do today to give yourself the gift of margin?

To your ease!

Pat Daniel, Ph.D.

© 2011, Pat Daniel and wizardofease.com.
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