The Importance of Margin

In this fast-paced and hectic world, we often say we are too busy and don’t have enough time. We may even wear the “too busy pin” as a badge of honor. Making us feel like we are really earning our money or to create a feeling of being indispensable. Several years ago, I watched a video series called Take It to the Limit by Andy Stanley, senior pastor and founder of North Point Ministries, which suggested there are multiple areas in our lives that could use some margin. According to Stanley, margin is the space between our current performance and our limits, or an amount beyond what is actually needed.

Schedule Margin

We often have our days booked so tightly with work, to-dos, projects around the house, exercise, kids’ games, etc., that every minute is scheduled. Because of this, our stress level goes up, our focus narrows, and our relationships can suffer. If we create some margin in our schedules, our stress might go down, and we might have some space for the things that come up unexpectedly (both good and bad). Maybe we wouldn’t have to give up the important for the urgent.

Professional Margin

Are the things that you are doing adding value to you, your company, or your family? Are you spending your time at work on the right things? Or, are you filling up your time with activities that could be done by others? Having some margin in our time at work allows us to spend that time on true priorities. Consider it an opportunity to develop others through delegating some responsibility.

I have thought about Stanley’s video often over the years. When things get too busy or my schedule too full, and I start to lose focus or get stressed, I try to evaluate the margin in my life and determine if I have over committed. I know there are times when I don’t have enough margin and I’m not fulfilling my potential as a leader. I’ll challenge you to think about the margin you have in your life. Does it allow you to be the best leader you can be?


Jack Woelber, Interstates Control Systems, Inc. President