There is a sad fact in this world we live in. Many people live overloaded lives. They have so many activities and responsibilities that they often feel exhausted. They live from paycheck to paycheck with no room for unexpected expenses. And they keep spending their emotional and physical energy with little or no time to restore it.

There’s a book related to it entitled Margin. The book argues that many people fill their lives up to the capacity, be it in term of energy, finance, or time. As a result, their lives are no longer in balance. They might seem “productive” in one or two areas of their lives, but the other areas of their lives suffer. They might have a good career, for instance, but their health and relationships suffer.

This, of course, is not a good way to live. So what can we do to avoid such a situation? What can we do to keep our lives in balance? I agree with the book’s advice here:

Give margin to your life in the form of emotional, physical, financial and time reserves

Don’t fill your life up to the capacity. Give yourself margin. Give yourself space to breath. You might not achieve as much as other people in the short term, but you will live a happier and more enjoyable life in the long term.

Here are eight things you can do to give margin to your life:

1. Trim your commitments

You might want to do many things, but the fact is you can’t do everything you want. Trying to do too much will only deplete your physical and mental energy. Not only that, it might also take time away from your relationships.

So, instead of taking everything that comes your way, use the 80/20 rule to choose only the most essential ones. If you already have too many commitments, go over them and trim the non-essential ones. Learn to say no without feeling guilty.

2. Set boundaries

Don’t fill up your time with work. Set boundaries. For example, you might decide not to touch your work above 6 p.m. so that you can focus on your family. Or you might decide to take one or two days off every week. Everyone has different situations, so set the boundaries that work for you.

3. Spend less than you earn

This is a basic principle of personal finance but it’s an easy one to forget, especially in this age of credit cards. Credit cards make it easy for people to spend money they don’t have. As a result, many people fall into financial troubles.

The first thing you need to do is tracking your spending. The reason is that it can give you understanding of how you actually spend your money.

After that, you can take action to control your expenses. Remove unnecessary expenses. Find cheaper ways to do things. This requires sacrifices but it’s good for you in the long term.

4. Build an emergency fund

Again, this is a basic principle of personal finance. You need to build an emergency fund for unexpected situations so that you can handle them when they come.

There are different opinions about how big an emergency fund should be, but make it at least three months’ worth of your (and your family’s) living expenses.

5. Make time to exercise

Exercise can boost your personal energy and keep your energy level high throughout the day. So make it a habit to exercise, either by yourself or with a friend. You will be more productive and less stressed as a result.

6. Have enough rest

Your body needs enough rest to function properly. Therefore don’t sacrifice your sleep time for work or any other activities. Make sure that you get 6 to 8 hours of sleep every night.

7. Pray or meditate

Doing this can boost your mental energy and give you peace of mind. You can then think more clearly and stay calm throughout the day.

8. Make quality time for relationships

Your relationships are great source of mental energy. Not only should you make time for them, but also you should make sure that it’s quality time. Give your full attention to the people you are with. Let them feel that you appreciate them.


What do you think? Do you have other tips to give margin to someone’s life?

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