Everyone Needs ItHave you seen the book, Crazy Busy? The author, Dr. Edward Hallowell, writes from what he has learned through treating ADD patients over the years. This may not be news to you but, according to Dr. Hallowell, we all can live busy and scattered lives. How do we cope with it? Is there an answer? Good news — there has been an answer. The only thing we need do is apply it.

Dr. Richard Swenson dealt with this very issue of busyness some time ago. It seems that only now people are taking note of this malady and trying to build into their lives, what Dr. Swenson calls: Margin.

In his same titled book, Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, Dr. Swenson offers these notes on our lack of margin, the problems caused by lack of margin, and the prescription for creating margin.


  • Overload is fatigue. Margin is energy.
  • Overload is red ink. Margin is black ink.
  • Overload is hurry. Margin is calm.
  • Overload is anxiety. Margin is security.
  • Overload is the disease that started in the 90’s. Margin is the cure.

The Problem
Pain is the problem: the pain of progress; the pain of problems; the pain of stress; the pain of overload. Some of the specifics of overload are listed below.

  • Activity Overload
  • Change Overload
  • Choice Overload
  • Commitment Overload
  • Competition Overload
  • Education Overload
  • Expectation Overload
  • Fatigue Overload
  • Information Overload
  • Media Overload
  • Ministry Overload
  • Noise Overload
  • People Overload
  • Pollution Overload
  • Possession Overload
  • Traffic Overload
  • Waste Overload
  • Work Overload

We Need A Margin Prescription
Emotional Margin

  • Cultivate Social Support
  • Reconcile Relationships
  • Serve Others
  • Rest, Laugh, and Cry
  • Create Appropriate Boundaries
  • Offer Thanks
  • Give Grace
  • Hold to Hope

Physical Margin

  • Take Personal Responsibility
  • Change Habits
  • Value Sleep (but don’t oversleep)
  • Exercise
  • Decrease Fat & Sugar Intake
  • Balanced Diet
  • Avoid Overeating
  • Drink Lots of Water

Time Margin

  • Learn to Say No
  • Turn Off the TV
  • Prune Activities
  • Create Buffer Zones
  • Plan For Free Time
  • Get Less Done But Do the Right Things

Financial Margin

  • Have a Goal
  • Break the Power of Money
  • Live Within Your Means
  • Discipline Desires
  • Redefine Needs
  • Decrease Spending
  • Increase Income & Saving
  • Make a Budget
  • Resist Impulses

Some of these may be new to you and some may not. As always the key to any endeavor is application. I hope you have been inspired to take several of these points under consideration and will start applying them today.