Five Reasons You Need to Build Margin Into Your Schedule

The secret to flexibility, spontaneity, and productivity.

A friend once asked me if I was doing anything that weekend. I replied that I wasn’t. Concerned for my social life, he then asked if I’d like to him and a few others in their plans for Saturday.

I thanked him for the offer and explained that after a couple of intense, demanding weeks, I was going to spend the weekend doing intentionally nothing. No external commitments, no set schedule, no tasks to work through. I was going to rest and do whatever sounded good at the moment, which ended up being a mélange of sleeping, reading, cooking, watching a handful of movies, and taking a hike.

It was wonderful, and just what I needed. I had let myself go too long without any downtime. I needed to carve out an entire weekend to put some margin back into my life.

Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / Andrey Burmakin

A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing.

L.P. Jacks, Education through Recreation

Is It Time to Throw Out Your Task List?

Don’t start today with what didn’t get done yesterday.

How many things are you trying to get done today? A lot, right?

How much of this is stuff that you were trying to get done yesterday? You didn’t get it done yesterday, so it rolled over to today. Some of that was stuff that rolled over because it didn’t get done the day before. How much of it is going to slip into tomorrow?

If you’ve ever started the day feeling like you’re already running behind, that might be part of it—you’re still trying to catch up with three days ago, or earlier. We have our big rocks that we want to work on, but if we don’t let go of the gravel that’s building up, there’s no way we’re going to get enough traction to make progress on the big rocks.

On busy days, have you ever set your task list side so you could concentrate on the things you really needed to get done?

If you have, you’re using your task list wrong. It’s time to throw out your task list and start again.

Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / Tiko Aramyan

How to Make Every Appearance On Stage a Command Performance

A Morning Ritual will Make or Break Your Day

Everyone loves a good performance. Every line crisp, every note perfect, every cue impeccable. The lighting, the set, the orchestra, and the cast all coming together with rehearsed precision. It’s exhilarating for the audience and deeply satisfying for those on stage.

Everyone who as tread the boards knows the price you have to pay backstage before you set foot on stage. What many of us fail to realize is that all the world is a stage, and we need to put in the same preparation in private if we want to have a good performance out in public.

Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / James Harris

Your morning routine can make or break your day. In The Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod recommends six specific practices that should be part of your morning routine, tied together with the only-slightly-awkward acronym SAVERS (as in, they’re your lifesavers):

  1. Silence
  2. Affirmations
  3. Visualization
  4. Exercise
  5. Reading
  6. Scribing

(Just think of Scribing as Writing or Journaling; SAVERJ isn’t a word, and Hal made the right choice in going for the acronym.)

I enjoyed Hal’s advice on improving your morning routine. He goes through each practice, explaining why it’s important and giving tips on how to get started. My biggest takeaway from it was the courage to start meditating when I get up; it doesn’t matter if I’m not doing it perfectly—getting started is the important thing. You can always improve once you’re started.

There are a couple of specifics that I don’t agree with, like Hal’s assertion that any amount of sleep is enough if you just think it will be enough. If you’re interested in getting better sleep so you can get up and have a great morning, check out Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson.

Question: Have you read The Miracle Morning? Share your thoughts in the comments, or on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

How to Boost Your Productivity with a Photo

Take a picture for quick and easy reference material

There are lots of great productivity apps for your smartphone. You can track tasks, stay in touch, and edit documents. Some are free, some cost a few bucks, and some are worth every penny you pay for them.

There’s one app on your phone that you probably don’t think of as a productivity app. It can save you time, save your bacon, and, yes, save your precious moments.

Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / antbphotos