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    Creating Margins in Your Life

    How many times have you seen a driver speed through a red light?  Or heard someone say, “I hope I can make it to pay day.”  Or maybe your child puts off their homework until bedtime.

    Our fast paced lives are packed with places to be, things to do, bills to pay, etc.  Is there a way to change that feeling of barely keeping up?

    Maybe, just maybe, we can learn to create margins in life.  A margin could be time, space, money, or anything that relieves us of making reactionary, short term decisions out of necessity.

    Let’s look at your work.  Creating margins in you work life means trying to get ahead on projects/deadlines.  For example, I write this blog each week, but I make every effort to avoid writing it close to the deadline.  Getting ahead on things lets me take more time to hopefully do a better job.

    How about finances?  I’m certainly no financial advisor and, like many of us, I’ve made some questionable decisions over the years.  I’d like to think I’ve learned from them and perhaps the best thing I’ve done is to create a margin… a money cushion for life’s unexpected emergencies.  In fact, I’m writing this blog as I sit in my mechanic’s lobby while they diagnose what ails my car.

    Creating time margins should be easy, but often presents the biggest challenge for folks.  Just leave earlier, right?  How difficult could that be?  Well, we’re creatures of habit, so leaving home in time for work becomes a habit.

    But what happens when the roads are extra slow or you run into unexpected family issues?  Try making it your “habit” to arrive ten to 15 minutes early.  No more running red lights, tailgating or other risky behavior.  Just factor that ten minute margin into your morning routine.  If that means going to bed a little sooner so you still get your rest, do it.

    Some of us make New Year’s resolutions.  Whether it a resolution or a birthday wish, just ask for or commit to “ten minutes.”  Get in that habit of creating a ten minute margin around life’s appointments.  After a few weeks I trust you’ll find a lower stress level.

    Let’s look at your health margins.  Whether diet, exercise or lifestyle choices, heed your doctor’s advice before having to take medicines – or worse.  We’ve all heard the saying, “all things in moderation.”  Well, moderation means not pushing it to the limit.

    Stress can be a killer and force us into making risky choices.  Commit to making “margins” a priority in your life and lower your stress level.  Good luck!

    Randy Wooden
    Randy Wooden is Director of the Professional Center by Goodwill of Northwest NC. Randy launched The Professional Center by Goodwill of Northwest NC, the first program of its type for any Goodwill®, in 2012. His experiences in career coaching, executive recruiting, business ownership, as a hiring manager and as a job seeker have afforded him the opportunity to view the hiring process from all angles. He developed and provided on-air talent for the Internet’s first daily, live television program targeted toward job hunters. He shares job search tips through a bi-weekly newspaper column; regular appearances on television, radio; and frequent public speaking appearances. Contact information: rwooden@goodwillnwnc.org, (336) 464-0516
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