One Minute Margins


One Minute Margins

We have never been able to accomplish so much in a minute.

We can write and send a message. We can schedule an appointment or pay a bill. We can take a picture, post it and wish someone a happy birthday. We can return a phone call, sign a contract, and see what our friends around the world are doing at this very moment.

It is truly amazing. What used to fill all of those minutes?

Half of my childhood was spent in some kind of waiting room absorbing every outdated magazine on the coffee table or studying the posters on the wall. We used to ride in a car for hours with nothing to do but look outside the window or create new games for all of the buttons on the console.

When I was driving, I was thinking or listening to music. When I was waiting in line, I was people watching, interacting with my kids or getting to know the stranger next to me.

These moments where “nothing” is getting accomplished are not valuable to us anymore. In fact, we consider them a waste of time…until those moments don’t exist anymore.

What science is just now discovering is that those moments are essential for our emotional and mental health. Those pauses allow our brains to take in and let out what we really need.

One simple way to start creating margins is by downloading an app on your phone that tracks your phone use and then check it every night. The next day, spend less time on your phone.

Another valuable step is to start tracking how you use your time just like you would track your food if you were changing eating habits. You can do this through an app, like this one or, if you are a paper girl like me, with a pen in your Passion Planner or journal and notice how you spend your time.

In her evidence-based program, Time-Wise, Linda Caldwell recommends also making a note as to why you spent your time that way and how you felt about it.

She offers these options for motivation:

  1. Had To
  2. Wanted To
  3. For a purpose
  4. Nothing else to do
  5. What others thought

This is a very important step because most of the time, we do not know why we are doing what we are doing anymore. Many of us have had our thoughts, our feelings and even our motives numbed out by our incessant use of technology. Not having access to our own thoughts has become normal.

Be prepared for the discomfort of waking up again. It hurts.

Imagine the last time your arm or leg fell asleep. Remember the pins and needles that you felt when the blood started flowing to your extremities again? It is painful. This is exactly what is going to happen when you begin detoxing your margins. These feelings are normal and healthy even though they hurt. You trust this process when your limbs are waking up. You will learn to trust this process when your heart and your mind are waking up. Being a human is hard but trying not to be human has it’s own consequences-many of which you may be suffering right now. If you are not suffering, ask the people who live with you if they are suffering.

In order to thrive in this world, in order for our children and ultimately our society to thrive, we must wake up.

It can happen one minute at a time.