Making Space Pt. 3 (Put Margin On Your Calendar)

By Charity

"We don't ever plan for busyness. Busy just invites itself right into our lives and settles in. What we need to do is plan for rest. Our calendars are the best indicators of what we value. Putting rest on the calendar signals to everyone that you are prioritizing the health of your being and your most treasured relationships." 

In my series about "making space," I've talked about the importance of creating space for yourself to protect the most important "yes" in life. I've also shared my practice of sticking to schedules as a tool for building that margin. Now I want to ask, what is your favorite time of the day and are there any small adjustments you can make to ensure you enjoy a piece of this period more fully?   

Life is busy. Whether you are a BLT mother, an entrepreneur, a working professional or all of these roles combined, life does not seem to fit squarely in the 24 hours we have in a day. Before long we end up burning the candle on both ends, and our bodies are first to take the brunt of this. If you are anything like me, the first thing to go is personal time. Responsibilities of others and work truncate the need to contemplate, go out on a date and even exercise. 

This is the trap that keeps us from living within margin. So how do we build up defenses within our schedule to combat this way of life?  

My favorite time of the day is 7am to 11am. If I could squeeze an entire day’s activities into this short segment, I would (believe me when I say I’ve tried). This period can be one of my most creative periods of the day, but it’s not always available to me. How do I adjust? Something I can do for now is retire early in the evening so that it’s easier to wake up early. When I do this, I gain 60 to 120 minutes of personal time before leaving for work. While the intent of this moment is to center and quiet my mind before the hustle of the day, occasionally my list of to-dos will creep into this moment. Even so, practicing the discipline of setting aside this block of time gives me hope because each day will bring another opportunity to practice. 

No matter what your daily roles and responsibilities are, acknowledge where you are at today and build within that capacity. And be okay when your personal schedule needs to change. I once experimented with planning out my week by designating specific activities for certain days. Exercise was for Tuesday and Thursday mornings, writing was for Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. Pairing activities with each day of the week may be a great strategy for others, but I failed miserably in keeping up with it. Instead, I found that setting up specific blocks of time during the day was a better fit for me. For example, from 5-6:30pm everyday I’ve designated this time block for downshifting from work and connecting with my husband. Time blocks give me the flexibility to decide which activities will be prioritized each day according to my mental and emotional capacity. 

More importantly, however, is to build moments of pause right in the middle of life’s bustle. What can be done daily? I have a notification on my calendar to remind me to go on a short walk at the same time each day. During this time, I step away from the demands at work and refocus my heart and attention. On a weekly basis, the practice is to dedicate at least one weekend day for floating or as little work as possible. I find this one to be most challenging for me, though I always recognize the transformative value whenever I participate in this weekly pause. On a quarterly basis, I aspire to take personal retreats. Whether it be for one day or four days, this practice is imperative for crafting a rhythm of rest and rejuvenation. 

We don't ever plan for busyness. Busy just invites itself right into our lives and settles in. What we need to do is plan for rest. Our calendars are the best indicators of what we value. Putting rest on the calendar signals to everyone that you are prioritizing the health of your being and your most treasured relationships.