Monday, April 01, 2002

Living on a Margin

I've been a chronically late arriver for years (except at work, where I managed to have near-perfect on-time attendance). I have suffered from extra money heating up my pockets and causing an itch to spend. I often let a whole bunch of correspondence pile up before I respond to any of it. I understand that some of this is a natural part of my work and life-management style, but that does not mean that I accept the way these things hold me back.

I've just begun reading a book called Margin, by Richard Swenson and I really like his premise. So far, I he's talked about how in times past, people deliberately left space between their output and their limits, and avoided the overload that plagues so many of us today. So much of what I've seen in big company pop management involves exploiting that margin to improve output, which ends up not being sustainable. Running a machine at full capacity, or pushing it beyond, will make it break down faster.

A different and personal example of lack of margin has to do with my internal drive to "get one more thing done" or read one more page, or otherwise fill up every minute possible before I have to get on the road to be somewhere. Unfortunately, using every minute, especially coupled with optimistic time estimates, leaves no margin for delays. The same thing happens money and unexpected expenses. Deliberately leaving a margin seems like a good prescription, and simple enough, but am I prepared to break the cycle?


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