I’d like to share an excerpt from Rich Minds, Rich Rewards. As you strive to meet deadlines and run from one appointment to the next, it is an important concept to remember:
One of the biggest causes of stress is that we are constantly trying to do more with less. As a result, we don’t give ourselves much margin for error. Whether the issue is money, time or rest, make a habit of giving yourself some leeway. Life has taught me that, more often than not, things do not go exactly as planned. If you make a habit of ‘cutting it close,’ you probably also find yourself regularly stressed out.
There are numerous examples of areas of our lives where a margin would help reduce our level of stress. Author Dr. Richard Swenson refers to this phenomenon as the “overload syndrome” in his book of the same name. In essence, we keep doing more and more and more until not only is there no margin between our load and our limits, but we have overextended ourselves and exhausted our resources. Those resources can be time, money, workload, volunteer work or other activities that stretch you beyond reasonable limits. Whatever the case, creating a margin for yourself in your daily life is essential to improving your quality of life. Consider your answers to some of the following questions to determine if you are suffering from the overload syndrome.
1. Do you find yourself running late on a regular basis?
2. Do you wait until the last minute to begin working on projects and then find yourself in a hurry to finish on time?
3. Would you be unable to pay your bills if for some reason you did not receive your next paycheck?
4. Is your level of debt (excluding your mortgage) more than you could pay off in a year with your existing income?
5. Do you feel as though the activities and projects you have committed to on a day-to-day basis are more than you have time to complete?
If you answered yes to any of these questions you should ask yourself whether you are overloading yourself. If so, what decisions do you need to make that would allow you to create some margin so that you can reduce your level of stress? The mentality that says that you should do, buy and work as much as you possibly can is detrimental to your well-being. It is also detrimental to your quality of life. Each one of us needs to know our limits and live within them. If we do not, we will eventually burn out in one form or fashion. Evidence of burnout due to the overload syndrome is evident in the record levels of consumer debt and bankruptcies, the number of workaholic parents who manage to give plenty of quality time to the company and have little quality time left to give to their children or spouse, and the decline in the amount of time that people seem to have to visit with their neighbors or volunteer in the community. It seems that, as a society, we are doing more and more, and enjoying less and less. Margin is the space we give ourselves so that we have room to simply enjoy life.
Are you overloading yourself? If so, what decision is it time for you to make to create some margin to reduce your stress level? Head over to my blog and leave your comments, I’d love to hear from you!
Until next time …
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