Every time someone asks me to do something, I hear it. When I read, I'm reminded of it. When I set up a document, I have to set them.
When I make a commitment, I must allow for some margin in case things don't go as they should. And we all know that's almost guaranteed to happen.
There were times I didn't allow any or not enough breathing room:
- The time I agreed to help with managing a writers conference, and my husband got sick. Any extra time built in disappeared, as well as the actual time set aside for the project. I ended up bowing out - not something I like to do.
- The time a Condo Board member said, "It's only one meeting a month." NOT.
- The time I took on a project, and my job situation changed.
- The time I planned to get my house in shape, and I broke my elbow.
Yes, margin is critical to the success of any endeavor. Construction companies factor it in when they promise to get a job done by a certain date. Writers give themselves stricter deadlines than the ones imposed by their publishers.
Margin comes in handy when the car breaks down, dinner burns, Jr. calls from the Emergency Room, or a flight is cancelled.
We all need margin.
Writers: Do you build margin into your projects? Please share a time when you didn't, and everything blew up.
Readers: Do you build margin into your daily lives? How about leaving 10 minutes early for an appointment, so you know you'll be on time? Please share.