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4 Areas Of Your Life You Desperately Need Margin And How To Start Getting It

Autumn DiScala, mdiv. is a leader in the field of life coaching, ministry, and theology. Her mission as a life coach is to guide Christian women in discovering their life purpose in all they do, helping them reorient their lives on God first and foremost.

 
Executive Contributor Autumn DiScala

How creating margin in our schedules, relationships, finances, and capacities can help us find the freedom we have been longing for to do what we love.


Relaxation, deadline and money text on the floor.

Do you feel like you never have time for the things you care about? Like time just keeps ticking faster than the speed of light and your to-do list never ends?


Do you feel like you never have time for your friends, spouse, loved ones, or yourself?


If you are at all like me, and reading those questions has hit you with a wave of remorse, and potentially anxiety, this article is for you.


Cue margin…


What is “margin”?

Margin is allowing yourself some wiggle room – Allowing yourself margin is allowing yourself freedom in your life, often in spaces where there is a need for flexibility, change, peace, and extra time. It looks like extra time, more finances, and even emotions.


(Sound impossible? I encourage you to keep reading!)


Again, if you emotionally and physically had a tense or anxious response to my previous questions, this is a good sign that you might be longing for margin!


Why is margin so hard to grasp?

Usually, when we notice that we are longing for more capacity and space for ourselves in various areas of our lives, there always seems to be something else that needs our attention, resources, time, etc. more. Why do we feel that way? Why do we feel like extra time is impossible or like something else is always important?


A recent CNBC article is quoted as saying, “Nearly half (48%) of 18-to-29-year-olds said they feel drained compared with 40% of their peers aged 30 and up, while women (46%) reported higher levels of burnout than men (37%).”


You see, our society is not built for margin – the constant bustling, “go go go” mindset, hustle culture, let us not forget the consumeristic, materialistic society we live in, does not allow for wiggle room.


If you have extra budget, there’s a new item you can buy. If you have time, there is always another activity or event. If you are not satisfied with your relationships, there are new and better options out there. We as a society are left stretched thin and always exhausted, longing for a day when we have freedom and nothing to do and yet never creating the space for ourselves to do so.


But, what if you could have peace in your relationships, finances, schedule, and capacity? What if that freedom enabled you to enjoy the life you have and come back to all you care about refreshed and ready to pour energy back into?


Read these words as an invitation to start seeing margin in your life as the capacity for receiving even greater.


What do I mean by that?


This is a mindset shift, or a reframe, as we call it in the coaching world.


It’s choosing to see the space we create in our lives as something that frees us. It’s choosing to see the space we create as more time for those we love, the activities we love, and the love we can show ourselves. Yes, there is a removal and a loss in a sense. But, while you may be removing excess spending or toxic relationships, what you are also doing is opening yourself up to have the capacity for what will bring you life and fulfillment.


4 key areas we need margin


Now that we see the lack of margin in our society, I would like to suggest the 4 main areas I see the greatest need for margin… our schedules, relationships, finances, and capacity.


1. Margin in our calendars

Margin in our calendars means having wiggle room in our scheduling, time for what we prioritize, and the ability to say no.


I work with a lot of women through my coaching practice who have benefited greatly from allowing themselves space in their calendars to care for themselves, spend time with God, and cultivate deeper relationships with their loved ones. The freedom they have experienced from learning to say “no” has been astronomical.


I share this to say, when we create margin in our calendars, it means taking an honest inventory of all you currently make time for. It means being honest when you ask yourself “Are there areas in my schedule where I am wasting time? Do I have structured free time or free time that is ambiguous? Are there things I can say no to or step away from? Are there things I want to add? What do I have to take out in order to add in?”


Saying “no” to events and tasks is the biggest challenge with this area requiring margin. But, as I say to my clients, we make time for what we prioritize. Does your schedule reflect what you want to prioritize? What can you shift around or let go of to make your schedule reflect the life you want to live?


Note: I would encourage you to have some time with God where you pray through your calendar and schedule, honestly asking Him what He wants you to keep in or let go of.


2. Margin in our relationships

The key in this area is releasing relationships that drain you, and choosing instead to cultivate an inner circle that is life-giving.


Hear me when I say, you can have friends who are not perfect or who believe or live differently than you. But, when you have a tight inner circle, choosing people whom you can be fully yourself around, whom you can be honest with, and whom you can expect accountability and challenges from, is crucial. You want to make sure you choose people who can live out the role – who walk the walk and talk the talk.


Creating margin in your relationships looks like evaluating your inner circle and setting boundaries and parameters where there need to be boundaries and parameters set. This involves making an honest assessment of your relationships, communications, and contact, and determining how much or how little involvement you want from the lives of those around you.


What I have found to be most helpful when having this conversation with clients is looking at the reason why this is important, as well as the end goal. Why does this matter? You want people you can trust to be the people who pour into you, and with margin, you want to have time for the people who matter most to you. What is the end goal? Energized relationships, deeper connections, and a community you can trust.


Savvy?


3. Margin in our finances

When we create margin in our finances, we are allowing ourselves the freedom to enjoy spending, not stress.


If you are at all like me, dealing with numbers, money, and organizing numbers and money is something that creates a tightness in your chest and makes you immediately feel overwhelmed. While talking about our individual money mindsets is a conversation for another day, I want to encourage you that dealing with our finances does not have to feel this way.


Creating margin in our finances means creating a budget plan and sticking to it. It means not seeing a budget as something that limits you, but rather gives you the freedom to not overspend, to not spend on things you do not ~really~ need, but to pay off the weight of debt on your back or save for what truly matters. Having a budget gives you the freedom to not be stressed about your finances, which alleviates much stress in every other area of your life, including your relationships, capacity, and schedule.


Further, having a budget plan means giving yourself the freedom to say “yes” or “no” to yourself (and others!). It means having healthy boundaries for yourself and giving yourself the ability to enjoy life freely knowing your financial limits.


Start with a budget plan that works for you! If you need additional resources, I recommend you check out the Stewardology Podcast.


4. Margin in our capacity

While capacity is an all-encompassing category, taking a thorough intake of our emotions, energy, and time yields the space for what matters, including rest, healing, and recovery.


I will be transparent, capacity is an area which encompasses the other three. But, individually and specifically, capacity looks more like answering the question “Who am I being as I live the life I am living?” Answering the question of who we are when we approach every other area will determine if we are really living the lives we want to live and if we are ready to make the changes we want to make.


Any sort of change in our lives that we want to make, or any activity in general, is less about what we are doing and more about who we are or who we are becoming through doing it. Who we choose to be and how we choose to show up is important. This is also true for how we approach our limits, boundaries, and capacity.


I say to my clients constantly that we cannot live a full life on an empty stomach. If we are not full ourselves, how can we expect to fill others? If our cup is empty, what do we expect to pour into the lives of others or the passions of our hearts?


We have to be refilled. We have to create space for ourselves to heal, recover, and rest so that we can keep showing up for those we love and the things we love doing. This requires we create margin in our capacity to do so – saying no to what drains us and saying yes to what heals us.


I hope by now you have come to agree with me on how beneficial margin is in our lives and how fruitful life can be when we allow ourselves space to be; when we allow ourselves flexibility.


Okay, I want margin in my life! Now what?

Great question! So, how do we allow more margin in these 4 categories?


Well, first we have to decide how important margin is to us. Then, once you determine it is important enough for you to start implementing change in your life, your next step is to say “no.”


Say no to the things that are keeping your schedule too full and are not life-giving, say no to the relationships that drain you and cause you more stress than relief, say no to the spending habits that are keeping you in a constant state of worry.


This is a slow process, and I do not encourage you to say no to everything at once, but, starting with a list of what gives you life in every area and what drains you can be a great first step, as well as rather

eye-opening. Make changes from there as you are ready.


Then, once you have determined what to say yes and no to, implement it! And, stick to the implementation!


You can talk for days, months, or years about the changes you want to make, but until you make them and stick to them you will never experience the freedom you wish to experience.


But, as a competent and capable individual, I fully believe you can create the margin in your life that you are longing for.


Need additional guidance?

With all my life experience, throughout the transitions and what I have learned about grounding my purpose in who God has created me to be, it has become my mission as a life coach to guide Christian women in recognizing their own purposes, who they were created to be, in God in all they do – whether that be in their families, careers, self-images, passions, or so much more.


Often amid uncertainty, transition, and taking big risks.


My goal is to help women overcome roadblocks in their lives that prevent them from doing what God has called them to do!


And, I would love to offer a complimentary initial session, what I lovingly call the “Roadblock Discovery Session”, to you!


In this call, it would be my joy to unpack your motivations, your dreams/desires, and to learn with you how you can pursue the life you want (and the life God wants for you, too!)!


My goal is to help you already find direction toward what you want to achieve in your life, whether we work together or not, from this session!


You can find out more about what I do on my website!


Read more from Autumn DiScala

 

Autumn DiScala, Health and Life Coach

Autumn DiScala, mdiv. is a leader in the field of life coaching, ministry, and theology. Her mission as a life coach is to guide Christian women in discovering their life purpose in all they do, helping them reorient their lives on God first and foremost. This passion comes from her own life experience, as she has navigated transitions and taking risks, as well as overcoming roadblocks that have so often left her feeling stuck and confused. Throughout it all, she has found that God has stayed consistent, patient, and kind, as He has guided her through all of her life experiences. She would love to help you see that same consistency in your own life, too.

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