My books have margins. That’s where I would write things if I could bring myself to write in books. Every businessperson is concerned with the margin on profits: too small and the business cannot weather rough economic times, too great and the competition will undersell goods or services.

I recently ran across a book called Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives. I know, I know–it’s a mouthful. I’ve not gotten all the way through it, but the author’s premise is worth examining. He believes, in brief, that we have done ourselves a disservice by doing away with the margin or space between things, between tasks, between everything and everything else. We plan constantly. We all multitask. We do business from anywhere (and anywhen). No breaks, no space, no margin, no good.

It’s something to think about when you get a chance.

6 thoughts on “Margin

    1. Right you are. But in Western culture, we might have a bit of a sabbath once a week (though I and others tend to work as diligently that day as any other, just in support of others getting their sabbath). I doubt there are many who take every 7th year to let the land rest, or forgive all debts every 50th year.

      1. It starts with taking the day. The principle of scheduling my life so that I break from ordinary routine and rest at least one day in seven is important. For me, it’s Monday (I work Sundays, as you might imagine). For a while when I was in Iraq, it was the day I got to go back to the base camp and take a shower. It’s one of the reasons the Marines insisted on 7-month deployments rather than the 12-18 month Army deployments – they might go more often, but they get more frequent breaks and it does wonders for morale of both the Marines and their families.

        Setting up a year of Jubilee would be problematic and hardly conducive to rest in our modern society, but bankruptcy laws fulfill some of that same purpose. Crop rotation and leaving some lands fallow still happens, though not on a 7-year cycle. The principle still applies, and it’s important.

        So, look at your life and schedule, consider the principle of sabbath, and apply the latter to the former. It might not come out as a full 24-hours out of every 168 – we’re free to be a bit flexible on this as, we are told, “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”.

        1. P&R,

          Thanks for your examples of how you incorporate sabbath into modern living. Interesting to note that Marines understand how important margin is with regard to deployments.

          Volts are not the only thing which need a regular recharge, are they?

  1. Even I can appreciate the Sabbath. The desire for margin is why I still enjoy not having a cell phone. When I’m in the car, there’s nothing to do but drive.

    1. Good for you. In honor of the sabbath yesterday, I left my mobile phone at home. It was a mistake, but turned out well, particularly in light of my writing this post on Saturday.

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