What do you think of when I say “create margin”?
Terms papers? Profits? The fact is, margins are key to maintaining a balanced schedule as a mompreneur. That’s why we are talking about this important and often overlooked boundary…how to create margin in your schedule. Last week we talked about the importance of rest to stay healthy and productive while juggling your business and home life. This week we are diving into a specific sort of rest break. A full stop, transition space between tasks and activities to help us catch our break. And to help prevent feeling overwhelmed, overstimulated, and overscheduled.
This quote nails it…
“Margin is the boundaries, the rest that is built into your every day life. It is the space between our load and our limits. Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating. It is the opposite of overload.”
While I couldn’t find exactly who said this, I think it perfectly sums up margin and why you need margin.
When you can commit to creating space, a buffer zone, or emergency fund for time in your schedule, you will feel less stressed and anxious. You can take time to enjoy the current task or activity you are focusing on because you aren’t worried about what you didn’t finish before and what you’re rushing off to next.
Continuing to jam one activity after another after another into your schedule isn’t sustainable. Well, not if you want to feel present in your life. Or like you can actually breathe.
And I get the desire to do it all…you want to serve all the people. Do all the things. You want your kids to experience all the activities and have all the things. You want your house to look like Real Simple magazine or cook recipes from Martha Stewart every night. But there will come a point when you feel exhausted, overwhelmed or out of control. You can either break and burnout or start to prioritize.
Having margin means you’re less full and less rushed. You have time and space to breathe. To transition from one activity to the next.
It means the tasks and activities on your schedule are intentional and bring you or your family joy. It means you have time to finish and close out your work mom life and transition into home mom life without feeling anxiety because tasks and activities overlap, intermingle, or slam into each other day after day.
Your clients and team can benefit from a more prioritized and streamlined schedule because you can focus and show up energized. And your family will also benefit from this “less is more” approach to activities. Kids’ brains, especially in adolescence, are already overloaded and overstimulated without piling extra activities or running around on top of what is already expected. Think of this as an opportunity to be a shining example of the ebb and flow it takes to stay healthy mentally and physically as an adult.
4 Strategies to Help Create Margin
Ready to create margin in your schedule? Here are 4 strategies to help you streamline your schedule and create more buffer zones between activities.
- Schedule Transition Time…This is the biggest offender I see in my clients and community when it comes to an overloaded schedule. There just isn’t time between. We eat dinner in the care while we rush from soccer to Girl Scouts. We schedule Zoom meetings back to back without a chance to get a sip of water or go to the bathroom. And when we neglect transition time, we run late. We have to cancel. Or we just run ourselves down. Your brain needs a chance to close out one activity before it rushes to the next. As you look at your schedule, see where you need to create a buffer zone between activities. Even 10-15 minutes gives you’re a chance to complete, rest, and pivot. Then you can show up more attentive and less flustered for your next task or activity.
- Stop Overbooking…I said transition time was the biggest offender when it comes to schedule stress, but usually that is because we are overbooking ourselves. Rushing from one thing to the next with no downtime is not sustainable. No wonder moms are exhausted. And it’s not just us. The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that sleep problems affect 25 to 50 percent of children and 40 percent of adolescents. And when kids are overstimulated by activities or staying up late doing homework due to an overbooked scheduled, it can impact their mental and physical health. Before you add another task or activity to your schedule, ask yourself “is this necessary?” “Is this truly important?” “Will this make me or my family happy?” “Do I honestly have the space for this in my schedule?” If you answer “no” to all of these questions, you need to use tip 3 which is…
- Say “NO”…This can take some practice. It may even take a lot of practice. Especially if you are used to being a “yes” mom or a “yes” woman. But protecting your schedule and your margin. Finding time to transition or rest is more important. Stop feeling like saying “no” means you are letting people down and think of saying “no” as a way to say “yes” to you. And your family. And your priorities for home and work life. For a deeper dive on “How to Say No and Why You Need To”, click here to check out my episode from January.
- Delegate…And finally, if you feel like your have narrowed down your schedule to the absolute priorities. To the activities that bring you or your family joy. To the tasks that are absolute priorities for your household or business. And yet you still can’t create margin, it may be time to delegate. Where can you employ help so you can complete the tasks without burning out? Who can help you transition or rest between activities? Is there someone you can hire to help with marketing while you take calls? Can a spouse, neighbor or another parent that can drop off for soccer practice so you can complete work or home tasks and have chance to breathe and pivot? Asking for help is not weakness, it’s protection. Say it with me…”asking for help is not weakness, it’s protection.” Who can and will you ask for help so you can protect your time and energy to focus on your priorities at home and at work?
Your action step to create margin in your schedule to protect your time and energy is to look at your schedule for this week, next week, or the coming weeks. Where can you plan transition time? Or adjust to give yourself a buffer zone between appointments and activities? What could you delete or reschedule to keep tasks and activities from slamming into each other? Can you say “no” to any commitments or upcoming activities to help free up some space in your schedule? Or are there tasks you can delegate to a spouse, family member, or team member that can help you stay focused and present rather than scattered and overwhelmed?
Ready to experience better mental, physical, and emotional health without sacrificing additional time and energy? Let’s jump on a free, no-obligation 15-minute clarity call to see how I can help you experience more fun & fulfillment in your work and home life.