Emotional Wellness

Increase Your Margin

August 14, 2013

In college, we all increased our margins. Word processing tools had a really cool feature. You could increase your margins from one inch to one and half inches. A four page paper instantly became five pages.

We focused on the length of the paper, instead of the content of the paper.  We spent times working the system, instead of developing the skills we needed.

In life, we have a tendency to focus on the wrong margins. For many, margin is defined as the difference between income and costs. We focus all of our energy and time on increasing our margins. The challenge, is I have never seen a tombstone with a balance sheet.

So, what margin should we focus on.  Margin is the amount of time dedicated for contingencies or special situations. Where are you allocating margin in your life.  Yes, spare time, with nothing planned.

What words do you want listed on your tombstone? Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Daughter or Sister? Lynn Hough wrote the famous quote, “Life is a journey and not a destination”.

Are you allocating unstructured time in your journey?  Are you creating margin with the words you want listed on your tombstone?

Margin is hard to create.  It takes discipline to allocate unstructured time.  What is interesting is life’s most memorable moments usually occur in margin time.

My tombstone will have the word “Father”.  For many years, my focus was being the provider and the authority figure.  There was little margin for my children.  I did not have unstructured time for them. It was inefficient.  It created tension and stress.

As I increased my margin time with my children, our relationships changed.  The tension and stress left.  The time usage my have felt inefficient, but our relationships became more effective.

The stories of our life will be based on what happened during times of margin.  Unplanned life. Memories.

Add Margin Time.


For the Emerson fans screaming about the wrong person being quoted, Lynn Hough actually wrote the quote as part of a Sunday School lesson in the 1920s.

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