< M A R G I N >

It happens a couple times of year. The headaches. The tenseness in your shoulders and neck. The un-utterable words that scroll through your mind. It is the moment you realize how stressed you really are. 

You've been pushed to the limits. The holiday seasons are upon us, and your creative aspirations have led you to parts unknown. "What were we thinking?" your mind wonders as now it is time to pull off these audacious ideas. Work extends beyond the normal hours (even for you), and time outside of the office is slim.

It is during these times we find ourselves agitated, prone to snap-remarks and disdain. For some reason, we cannot hide our poor attitude. We don't want to have a subtle hatred toward everything...it just seethes through.

Why?

Because we have no room for margin.

An amount of something included so as to be sure of success or safety
— Oxford Dictionary

There are always busy seasons in life. We are fast approaching one for most church creatives. With a desire to put our best foot forward for the holidays, our teams are pushed to the limits creatively. Not only are we dealing with work, but we have family celebrations, Christmas parties and travel issues.

Needless to say, our headspace becomes extremely limited.

It's time we add margin to our lives. 

Margin is what comes before and after the activity you are about to partake in. For athletes, it is listening to their jam before a game, and settling their mind and bodies in a bucket of ice afterwards. For musicians it is peace and calm before and after a performance.

Whatever margin looks like for you, it is time you build it in to your daily routine.

What does margin look like?

1. Focused Quiet Time

How often do we spend moments alone? In solitude and in peace? We live in an increasingly cluttered world, and during busy seasons of life, it is important to take moments away from the clutter. Spend 15 minutes each morning sitting in silence. If you want some music in the background, that's fine, but give your mind opportunity to wander in the peace. It is amazing what 15 minutes can do for your mind.

2. Build in Down Time

Along with having moments of peace, it is also important to build in moments that force you away from work. Build in a weekend getaway with your family. Escape for three hours and see a movie. Set aside time to read. If you will commit to building in down time, it will allow your mind to refresh and refocus when it comes time to get back to work.

3. Simplify and Say No

What are the things you do because you have to? What are the things you do because you "should?" During the busy seasons, it is important to prioritize what must be done versus what is done. If we are all honest, we overextend ourselves during the holidays. We overcommit and hate ourselves for it. Believe it or not, it is okay to say "No" every once in a while. We don't have to attend every party, or honestly, make every video for Christmas Sunday. If we focus on simplifying our creative presentations, simplify our schedules and eliminate some of the extracurriculars, we will find there is so much more room to create margin.

Margin is absolutely necessary for us to keep our sanity in tact. During these seasons, we have to build in the safety on each side of our work schedules. It is easy to read this and think, "wouldn't that be great," but if we can make it a priority to include margin, we fill find our lives and our work to be in a much better place.