This past summer, my mentor and I started reading Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Christian physician Richard Swenson. (Purchase the book here.) Dr. Swenson wrote it after he saw so many discouraged people who realized that their idea of overbooked progressiveness is not so….progressive.
I went to a pretty fast-paced school environment in high school, so I have a tendency to cram a lot into one day. Also, being a double major, where one (music) defines a lot of your extracurricular activities sometimes sets you up for having one thing booked right after the next. However, I have realized in the past couple years that some of the most rewarding moments in your education come from those extra interactions with professors before or after class. Those are the moments where you learn the most insights and allow relationships to go deeper and blossom. Thus, here are some ways to make sure you implement margin into your life.
5 Tips on Implementing Margin Time
1. Give yourself a weekly scheduled period for Sabbath rest.
This could even be just a couple hours on a day other than Sunday (if Sunday is a busy day, such as those actively involved in ministry.) This will likely be a time you will look forward to every week.
2. Schedule in five to 15 minute chunks of time in between events.
When you are planning out a weekly schedule, keep these aspects in mind. This will help you get to places on time so you feel less guilty. It also gives you time to chat with relative personnel after class, unless the other person needs to leave first of course.
3. Prioritize the things you want to do, not just the things you feel obligated to do.
Let’s say you want to exercise. Tell yourself that you will put that on the schedule before you pick up any other commitment.
4. Drop one commitment if you are picking up a new one.
While this involves some prioritizing of goals, it is often healthy to drop something one semester if you are picking up something else. This is something that one of my friends has adopted. While it was hard for her, this keeps her quite successful at what she does and helps her maintain quality.
5. Have a regular quiet time.
Recently, I have started reading a devotional every night (that is when I get the new email). It is something that I look forward to, and I like the consistent theme of giving everything at the end of the day to God. I metaphorically since that in my body. I also am working on thinking about everyday thinking about one or two unexpected things that God put in my life, which I didn’t expect to happen.
Here are two examples from this week:
1. I got an encouraging phone call from the vice president of a company in the evening with pleasantly surprising information.
2. I was able to go to the chiropractor at the last minute, who helped me find relief for a variety of symptoms.
Here is a nice quick article about scheduling margin from The Ransom Church.
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