Margins

Going back to work has made me miss my free time. I used to have more time to work on personal development and growth. On the other hand, there are some distinct benefits. My work ethic has increased. I’m using my brain in an academic way and I enjoy that.

As I navigate the home/work/personal balance, I’ve discovered I need recovery time.

There’s so much going on in three different spaces that I need to build in better breaks. I need breaks at work to process the avalanche of information on a daily basis. I need breaks at home to appreciate and love the people for who they are in the midst of all the chaos. Personally, I need space to develop and unleash my creativity. The more “stuff” I have going on the less I can create. The less I create, the more frustrated I become.

On my commutes to work and home, I listen to audiobooks and podcasts. They help me fill my information and personal growth bucket and distract me from the awfulness that is rush hour traffic. One of the podcasts, Building a Story Brand with Donald Miller was talking about finding rest within the chaos. The author used the example of Central Park. The designers of New York City realized that people would need nature amongst the big city. That people would need a break within their daily lives. So, create for yourself a central park. Find ways to take breaks.

For me, it’s simple breaks throughout the day.

Looking at pictures of my kids while at work. Closing my eyes for 1-5 minutes and meditating. Glancing at the beautiful clouds while I’m driving. Deep, diaphragmatic breathing throughout the day. Going to bed 5 minutes earlier so I can read. Getting up half an hour earlier so I’m not rushed in the morning.

Since I am on the computer waaaaay more, I started thinking about these self-care ideas as margins. Create for yourself larger margins. Word documents have preset margin choices. Narrow, wide and normal. I would argue that our “normal” margins between work and home commitments are too narrow. We need to make our margins wider. Create more free time and space to grow and explore. Time to sit and stare.

Margins
Margins

If you’re a creative or intellectual, you need margins. You need space to grow your ideas.

Gardeners know about thinning. Carrot and many other plants need thinning in a garden. You plant so many seeds because not all of them will grow. Once they start growing, you come by later and pull some of the plants to give the others room to grow.

Your life needs thinning to birth great ideas.

Say no to ok ideas to give room for great ideas. Thin the ideas or tasks that aren’t producing results. Margins will help us recharge and grow our creativity. Creativity needs time to relax and unwind.

The fact is, you probably need custom margins. Wide in some places, narrow in others. For me, it’s a constant juggling act. Figuring it out one day at a time. This season of newness in my job has lead to scaling back in other areas of my life. I also know from experience that one day the job will be learned, therefore easier, and allow space in other areas of my life that are not here today. That knowledge allows me the mental space to realize that life has seasons and this is just one.

Lone Palm Tree
Lone Palm Tree

This palm tree has created margins for itself. Standing tall with plenty of room to breathe.

Find more artwork here!

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