Margins

Most notebooks have margins like the one in the image above. The essence of a margin in a notebook is to prevent the writer from straying beyond a certain point on a page. It is the breathing space in a notebook. Just as a notebook requires a margin, you also require margins in your life.

Margins provide you the space and opportunity to catch your breath during a busy day. It is so easy to try to power through the day and then seek to repeat the feat everyday like a Duracell powered bunny. The body and mind isn’t designed to operate this way. Eventually, the pace of a busy life without margins overwhelms the body causing stress and burnout. The lack of margins also stifles creativity. This is because there is no chance to recharge, refocus and re-clarify priorities.

How do you design margins in your day? I have tried to implement what I refer to as P.T.O. in my day in order to create margin. P.T.O is a common abbreviation used to denote ‘Please Turn Over’ the page but in my case P.T.O refers to ‘Purposeful Time Out’. I try to take P.T.Os at certain points in the day.  It is an opportunity to re-clarify that I working on the right tasks. It is easy to get bogged down in the details of life and work that you miss the big picture. P.T.O enables me to stay focused on my priorities. A P.T.O does not have to be long; it just has to be purposeful. Trust me; you can be use a five minute time out from the busyness of life to increase your productivity.

I occasionally use my P.T.O to say a quick prayer and connect with God. These minor breaks serve as buffers and they help prevent me from getting overwhelmed and stressed-out. I also use my P.T.O as an opportunity to get off my chair to stretch and walk about the room. This helps break the habit of sitting in my chair at the office for hours. I discovered recently that sitting down for long spells in your chair without taking regular standing breaks isn’t healthy for the body in the long term.

Do you have margins in your life? How have you designed them into your life? Please share in the comments box below.

3 Comments

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3 Responses to Margins

  1. Keith McFarlane

    Thanks for sharing. This is simple yet so powerful in application. What better way to get through the rigours of everyday life than to recharge through prayer. Shall definitely start to use the PTO 🙂

  2. EA

    I now take my break away from my desk. Go to the canteen and use my hr to eat, read paper or watch something on my phone. I can now incorporate prayer into that.

  3. Ogechi

    Hey Prof,
    I have enjoyed this reminder that daily insertions of a P.T.O are quite a necessary part of one’s well-being. I definitely agree.
    In my case I tend use a P.T.O to ‘reward’ myself when I am working/studying by taking time out to do something I actually want to do, or something I don’t have to give much thought to. For instance,I enjoy entertaining my self with celebrity news or ‘self-help’ type articles. During my breaks, assuming I can’t leave my workstation, I read up on online ‘news’ and check out headlines that amuse me 🙂
    I also like looking out of the window. I find this relaxing, and it gives me an opportunity to notice things/people/events I have overlooked for whatever reason.
    P.T.O gives me a chance to let my mind relax and unwind in preparation for what’s next on my agenda…

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