A few years ago, my friend and coach, Barry Engelman shared with me the discipline of creating margin in my schedule. He explained how many leaders fill every moment of every day with appointments and other obligations, leaving very little time to respond to a situation that requires their immediate attention. Barry asked me to imagine reading a book with no margins on the top, bottom, or either side of the pages. There would be just line after line of text from one edge of the page to the other, top to bottom. I told him it would be difficult to read, to remember where you stopped reading the night before, and difficult to take notes on things that were important to you. Overall, it would just be too busy on the page and the reader would feel stressed and uncomfortable trying to read it, I told him. This, he explained is how most professionals live their life at work and home.
Barry went on to explain to me that creating margin in our schedule is a leader's "ministry of availability" to those they love and serve. A practice that allows professionals to intentionally leave space open in their calender for those unscheduled pop by appointments from a direct report or teammate, responding to email from a concerned client that just needs to vent, or a phone call from a loved one that needs advice or an encouraging word. Having this time allows a leader to go deeper with clients, be more engaged with teammates, and be attentive to their loved ones.
As you look at your calender this week, I want to encourage you to do the following:
- Analyze your current schedule and see if you have margin.
- Identify the people and relationships that would benefit from you being more available.
- Decide where you can create margin in your daily schedule.
- Commit to providing a ministry of availability at home and at work.
- Track the results and impact you are having on the people you love and serve each day.
Make it a great day!