Operating Without Margins

Operating Without Margins

It’s confession time.

Have you ever felt like life is flying by so quickly that you’re just hanging on for dear life? Or, to put it another way, do the pages of your life ever feel like there are no margins? That’s how I feel today, and that’s where I’ve been for a while now. Life at work and at home has become so hurried and frantic that every moment seems like a chore, and I stay up too late at night trying to get things done. Christmas vacation was a nice break, but now I find myself right back in the middle of all the rush.

The worst thing about living this way is that the things that are most important tend to get the least amount of attention. For instance, this week, Keri and I celebrated nine years of marriage, and I’ve been so consumed with everything else, that I didn’t focus any creative attention on her and showing her how much I love her. We went to dinner, saw a movie, and spent some time together, but I didn’t carve out any time to really express my love for her in a lavish way. I hate that.

When life gets this way, I feel like I lose some of my ability to cope. I become more irritable, more distractible, and easily discouraged. The most frustrating part is that, for the most part, I’ve brought this upon myself by the choices I’ve made.

I’ve also discovered that when I operate without margins, the little joys of life – like going to the park with my family or reading a book to my daughter or even reading the Bible – become an unwanted distraction from the tyranny of the urgent. And when joy becomes a distraction, you know you’ve worked yourself into a bad situation.

So in light of the New Year, I’m committing once again to reestablish daily and weekly margins into my life. I recommit to the daily practice of solitude and silence and working towards the elimination of hurry from my life.

Given my personality and current responsibilities, I’m not exactly sure how to get there. Any advice?

And how about you? How are you doing with the margins of your life? What practices have you established to keep things in check?

3 thoughts on “Operating Without Margins

  1. Hey, Kyle.

    I have pat answers, but they work.

    Say “no” without guilt. Become really good at delegating. Ignore the insignificant stuff. (Sometimes details can immobilize me.) Always start with God.

    How can I help?

  2. Amanda, that’s good advice! Thanks for the comment and the offer to help.

    The challenge comes in the middle ground between trusting God to take care of the needs of our family and seeing the extra work as His method of providing for those needs.

    I think the biggest frustration is that my additional responsibilities keep me from focusing as much on the two that are most important (family & church).

  3. Hey Kyle

    Wow — you described EXACTLY what I’m feeling. Work was so slow during the holidays that I haven’t been able to wrap my brain around the massive pickup in the pace and am feeling overwhelmed by it all. I get home late, get to bed late, wake up late, get to work late — and the day goes down hill from there.

    Thanks for the reminder!

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