The importance of margin of error was first introduced to me as a beginning tennis player at age 14. If you hit the ball too close to the net or to the lines and you were a little off or a gust of wind blew you could have an error. The solution was to clear the net 6-8 feet with top spin and to place the ball a foot inside the lines to decrease errors.
The concept of margins is all around us. Driving down the highway there is typically a shoulder for emergencies. Going over an overpass the lane is wider for safety. Margins in a book create ease of reading. Golfers place their shots with margin of error away from water, trees or out of bounds.
Margin is the space between my current activity and my limits. It is elbow room and breathing space that decreases stress, enhances relationships, and increases success.
I have to admit, creating margins in daily life is difficult for me. I want to live life to the edge. I squeeze too many activities in my day. However I’m discovering that I’m happiest and more successful when I create margins in my day to day life.
How do we create margins of success?
1. Create margins in your daily schedule.
Make time and space for breaks, breakfast, lunch, returning telephone calls, email, running over, and drive time. By arriving early and building cushion in our daily schedule we are prepared for Murphy’s law-what can go wrong will go wrong.
2. Create margins in relationships.
Making time for weekly date’s, a nap, a walk are examples of creating margins in romantic relationships. Building free time so you can play and connect with your kids. Going out to eat, lingering, or having a cup of coffee with friends enhances the relationship. Having a quiet time some time in the day with prayer, meditation, or inspirational reading creates renewal.
3. Do less to accomplish more.
Trying to be all things to all people leaves us empty, frazzled and unfulfilled. Why not focus on 1-3 priorities and free up space in our brain. Creativity and success come from drilling down into one area for deep success. The old saying is “less is best.”