I read a reference to someone famous writing they wanted a margin in their life. I can’t remember who, and I can’t be arsed finding the reference (it was in Gretchen Rubin’s book, Happier at Home, which I have returned to the library) as I see that as wasting the margin that I want in my life. But I think it was that Thoreau fellow.
Anyway, I read the reference and thought, in arm pumping style, which is so not me, “Yes, that’s what I want.”
I want a margin to allow me to do or not do things. Things that do not HAVE TO BE DONE. Things that do not shout at me to be done. A margin to breath. A margin to laze around until afternoon in my pjs. A margin to blog or daydream or gaze out the window and think about gardening. A margin to sit in front of the fan and enjoy the white noise and background family noises and be slothful.
I used to love drawing margins in my workbooks at school. 2.5cm in red pen, using a ruler of course -how could people stand the wiggly, crocked free-hand line? The margin gave space so the page was not crammed with writing. Of course it gave room to correct errors, if, heavens above, corrections were needed in copying notes or in first drafts. But I just loved the space for nothing but to be space.
I want a margin in my life to protect me from work demands. (And sometimes from the demands of homeownership and adult life.)
When I’m home I want to Be At Home. When I leave the office I want to clock off from work.
My boss sent me a text one Friday this year at quarter past five saying he’d call me later that afternoon to discuss an issue. Really, in whose definition is after five, the afternoon??? Surely the afternoon is nearly up and we are moving into the evening? And it is Friday!
I responded by saying I was now socialising and it’d have to wait until Monday morning. He apologised and explained that he’d written the text before he got on a plane and the text must have only sent upon landing. Still, he planned to contact me after his flight landed and after he had collected his luggage and got to the car from long term parking and he was driving home from the airport. That would be way after 5.30pm. Not afternoon by anyone’s standards, surely?
And by discuss issues he’d off-load a heap of shit by discussing a complaint about which I could do nothing until Monday so I’d just feel annoyed all weekend.
I am proud of myself for managing my manager.
Other steps on building my margin: I haven’t looked at my work emails out of hours, since disconnecting the work email account from my phone.
OK, I haven’t been totally free after hours. Phone calls. Thinking how to deal with some issues. Discussing issues with colleagues. But still I am doing much better at “clocking off” and feeling much better.
I’m averaging about 45 hours a week at work. Effectively I work non-stop, maybe stopping for 15 minutes for lunch, but usually working while I eat. Really that’s enough. I am not taking my work home.
I’m ruling a margin around my life.
PS. On searching for images on margins in life turns out lots of people want margins and it’s a common concept in self-help blogs and books. That’s me! Jumping on the bandwagon late in life. Oh well, better late than never. Some sites tell you “Five simple ways to create margins”, others how better to use margins. Pfft. Well, der. I need to switch off my connectivity, especially from work. And walk out of the office. Who’d a thunk it??? Anyway, I’ve gone with my metaphoric exercise book margins rather than the usual metaphors of a mindful, quiet, sunset, natural image. Way too obvious!!!