I know I have blogged about this a few times already in 2008, but I have to sound this trumpet again. I in a very different place than I have ever been (much more overflow) because I have margin in my life in a way I've never had before.
Because I've been focused for several years on learning to do less for more, I find myself in the unique place of having more unstructured time than ever before and "doing more" than ever before by doing less.
- My devotions are growing richer. Reading the Bible and praying are less of a responsibility and more of a time of exploration and discovery. Not every day, but many.
- I'm home more at night. Like a lot. 5-6 nights a week. That was unheard of five years ago.
- I have almost every Saturday off.
- I have more time to write. I think my messages are better and I can even do stuff like blog. I'm toying with a book.
- I spend a lot more time with key staff and leaders and Connexus.
Don't get me wrong, I still have time management challenges weekly. This week for example, I had two evening meetings, a full day staff retreat, regular staff meetings, my small group and five one on one meetings, a ten hour drive to Philadelphia (I leave at noon today) and four talks on the Orange Tour before driving home Saturday afternoon. Plus I blogged a lot and wrote a message for Sunday (back Sunday to teach). (Oh, and I cleaned out my inbox.) Margin and doing less for more does not mean you're lazy, it just means you're focused on what you're best at and that there's enough space in your life that a full enough week like this one is offset by more balance other weeks. Next week for example, I am home four out of seven nights. The following week: six out of seven.
The other upside is that my disposition, my mood, has changed. It's hard to have overflow when you never sit down, are constantly on the go and feel like you can't get it all done. Here are some shifts I noticed in my personality because I have more time off and more margin in my life:
- I'm more generous. I find myself helping out more around the house and in virtually all situations without thinking someone else should have done it.
- I have more patience for hard situations. When something goes wrong or people go off on me, my fuse is longer and my compassion is greater.
- I have more energy for each day. I just sat through an eight hour meeting yesterday. Normally that would have killed me. I stayed engaged through the entire thing.
- I rush less. I am naturally an insufferable rusher. I take more time for people and more time to listen.
- I am more charitable in how I interpret things. I am more likely to assume the best in others, not the worst or something in between.
- My devotions have become richer. Busy-ness is the enemy of intimacy (with God).
How much margin do you have in your life? Is margin related to overflow? Can you imagine moving into a place of deeper margin? What are your patterns that make you "better" and which ones make you 'worse"? What can you do about it?