Choosing to Create Intentional Margins
Do you ever feel like you are running on that hamster wheel of to-dos and are afraid to jump off for fear that everything will crumble? Are you so overwhelmed that you can’t see the vision, and all you want is some clarity? Yeah? Me too! Or at least that was me before I started getting consistent with my "margins."
If you have ever listened to my podcast, Everyday Happiness, you have likely heard me talk a lot about Intentional Margins®. Today, we will go over what they are, how to use them, and a few examples! Let's jump right in!
What are Intentional Margins®?
Intentional Margins® is finding the buffer of space and time to create harmony between our to-dos and priorities. Now, you might be thinking, "I don't have any margin; I go non-stop all day!" You would be surprised at how many pockets of space you have in your day where you can set intentional margins.
The first step in understanding Intentional Margins® is having a good idea of your daily calendar. If you look at your calendar, you know what most of your day looks like. Maybe you are conference calls, a daily commute, a medical appointment, etc. Perhaps, you have a job, like my sister, a nurse. She works 9-5ish, and there is no break. She's basically on, all day.
Whatever your calendar looks like for you, I encourage you to take a traditional week and put all of that in your calendar. Then, put in the sleep. If you're an overachiever, put the dinner-making and cleaning-up time in the calendar too.
The rest of what’s left (even if it is just 5 minutes) is your margin.
Becoming Intentional with Your Margins
Now that you know your margin, it is time to get intentional with it. The big question is how do we make the absolute most of our time to create a fulfilling life in our Intentional Margins®.
I've found that when we aren't intentional, we look back over the day and wonder, what did I do that was in MY priorities? I felt so busy all day! Days become weeks, weeks to months, months to years, and pretty soon, we're checking the to-do list, but we’re on autopilot.
Intentional Margins® is a filter to identify what matters most (your priorities) and figure out how to make time for them. So when you look back at the week, you have a win by recognizing that you did live in your priorities and are creating a fulfilling life.
For a lot of us, it’s just about awareness. When we, for a split second, turn off autopilot.
Now, if you think that’s not you, that you don’t actually have a moment for your priorities, I invite you to think about how much margin you might have. In those pockets of time, what are some priorities you would like to focus on during that time? It could be 15 minutes here and there or an hour or two in the evening.
As we now know, Intentional Margins® is about finding the buffer of space and time to create harmony between our to-dos and our priorities.
The INTENTIONAL MARGINS® method is called I-M-P-A-C-T.
I-M is the words INTENTIONAL MARGINS
P - Priorities (what and why)
A - Action Items (how)
C - Calendar (what gets calendared gets done)
T - Timely Evaluation of the PAC (are your action items completed and reaching your intended priority goal)
Let’s take a look at a quick example:
Priority: I want to spend time with my husband.
Why: I want a healthy marriage that is separate from raising kids.
Action: Coffee chat in the morning.
Plus: Quarterly getaway, date night, etc. There are a million ways to do anything; you get to decide what works for you.
Calendar: Time blocked on my calendar, so calls don’t get scheduled.
Timely: Review monthly and see if this is still working for us.
How I Utilized Intentional Margins® with My Son
As I said, Intentional Margins® can be a buffer of time; all you really need is 5 minutes!
About two years ago, when my little guy was riding a bus to school, and we were not in a global pandemic, I realized how important the moments when he stepped off the bus were to him and me.
Before this time, I would always be finishing one last thing as the bus rolled up. Either a text, an email, or I would be on the phone, hushing my little kids as they gleefully bounced off the bus, waving to the bus driver as my phone was tucked between my shoulder and ear.
Then, I realized I was missing the best parts of life and what kind of message was I sending my kids? It's a gut punch. They were always so excited to see me, tell me about their day, and show me the artwork they had brought home.
So, I decided to commit to my Intentional Margins. I put my phone away two minutes before I expected the bus to roll up. I gathered my thoughts. I set a quick intention for how I wanted to show up for them. So, when they got to the stop, I was waiting. My phone was tucked into my pocket. I was looking at them, their smiles, watching them bounce off the bus, and more than anything, I was present for them in those initial moments. The message is sent to my kids was that I am here, I value you, and I want to be here in this moment with you.
Creating this Intentional Margin® forever changed the way I am with my kids, and it was less than 5 minutes of my day.
Margin Makers Making it Happen!
The other part of Intentional Margin® can be a priority, something that lights your hair on fire, that you want to make sure you are making time for.
Margin Makers in our community have a ton of diverse ways they create Intentional Margins® from:
· Coffee with a friend
· Family game night
· Writing a book
· Working on a side-hustle
· Listening to a podcast
Not wanting to toot my own horn, but you can even make my podcast your first Intentional Margin®! It’s just 2-ish minutes a day. You’ve got 2 minutes, right?
Become a Margin Maker!
Let’s be honest; this stuff takes practice, and we're constantly tweaking it for ourselves. If you want to dig in more with like-minded women, you can join the Intentional Margins® Community. We open it a couple of times a year. You can get on the waitlist over at www.katiejefcoat.com/community