Time to Clean - J. Richard Byrd
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Time to Clean

Time to Clean

On my Mac – I have a small program that allows me to clean up extra added weight to my computer.  These are useless files and items cached in my browsers that make my computer slow. Extra language files and essentially a bunch of stuff that gets gathered while installing apps.

Every so often my computer will drop this reminder on my desktop.  It is a simple reminder but it has deep symbolism to business and to life.

Time to clean jrichardbyrd.com

Clean up the extraneous so that you can recover free space. Over the last few days I have been thinking about the margins in my life.

Now when I talk margin — I am talking about a concept I learned from Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, by Richard Swenson, M.D.  Dr. Swenson describes it like this:

Margin is the space between our load and our limits. It is the amount allowed beyond that which is needed. It is something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations. Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating. Margin is the opposite of overload. If we are overloaded we have no margin. Most people are not quite sure when they pass from margin to overload. Threshold points are not easily measurable and are also different for different people in different circumstances.

We don’t want to be under-achievers (heaven forbid!), so we fill our schedules uncritically. Options are as attractive as they are numerous, and we overbook. If we were equipped with a flashing light to indicate “100 percent full,” we could better gauge our capacities. But we don’t have such an indicator light, and we don’t know when we have overextended until we feel the pain.

As a result, many people commit to a 120 percent life and wonder why the burden feels so heavy. It is rare to see a life prescheduled to only 80 percent, leaving a margin for responding to the unexpected that God sends our way.

For me, I realized that I had not intentionally created margin in my life.  Nor had I created margin in my business. This means at any given time, I can work 9 weeks straight with no breaks and at times working 20 hours a day. I promise you this is not why I went into business for myself.

Well, this brings me back to the topic of this post.  In order to build some margin, I first have to free up disk space.  I started first by cleaning: my space, my environment, my files, my friends list, my social networks, who I hang out with, etc. Essentially, cleaning out any extraneous information, projects, or people that are weighing me down.

And, it started with the word NO!

For some other ways to create margin — please check out this presentation summary by Michael Hyatt