How To Build Margin

Not having margin is like running a mile without breathing…it sucks.  It seems that there are certain seasons in ministry that kill margin, in particular seasons of transition.  We get overwhelmed, find ourselves overworked and when it’s done we are over tired. Without it we cannot be effective; in other words margin is important.  So how do we get it?  How do we stop the bleeding and not only heal, but build strength in what we do?

  • Ease Your Pace: I know you feel as if you have a lot to do, but seriously slow down and take a step back.  Many times we are so deep in the trenches we neglect to see the simple steps we can take to become more efficient.  Don’t be afraid to take real breaks (like eating lunch away from the desk).
  • Track Your Tasks: I hate when people say, “If you don’t write it down, you won’t remember it.” And the reason I hate that phrase is because they are right and I need improvement in this area.  Make a to do list, a not to do list and then prioritize what needs to be done.  We waste margin when we sit there thinking about what we are supposed to do next.  
  • Create A Schedule (with margin): No calendar means no flow.  No flow means friction.  Friction means you aren’t getting anywhere fast.  Create a feel for when you should do what and tweak it.  To gain margin, you need to plan for it.  When you create a clear schedule and stick to it, you’ll find yourself with more time and energy than before.

I know the push back to these steps is that it takes time, and you are right.  But, sometimes you need to take a timeout to refocus and redirect.  I know the fear to taking the time to reorganize your life is falling behind; however, coming up with a clear plan will make you efficient, focused and help you gain that invaluable commodity we call margin. 
Where does margin lack in your job/ministry?

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