When I took driver’s ed, the teacher advocated that we “leave a margin” — keeping space between us and the car ahead to buy us some reaction time should something out of the ordinary happen.  As the theory goes, if we followed too closely we were more apt to be involved in an accident if someone had to brake suddenly or if an unforeseen obstacle occurred.

I think that the mantra applies to time management as well.  I find myself always trying to “leave a margin” so that I am not rushing or doing tasks at the very last minute.  The taxes aren’t being postmarked at midnight; the license doesn’t need to be renewed today or face penalties, and I’m not paying for overnight delivery so I get the gift on time.  In fact, there is little that I have to do in a crisis state — which allows me time to actually think about things; to do things when I am alert enough to do them and usually do them better than if I was attempting a harried effort to finish something.

I know that people develop a personal comfort level with their margins.  Some people have such large margins that I wonder if they will ever take action on anything.  But when I am with people who leave little margin in their personal scheduling, I feel the same tension as when I am riding with someone who, in my opinion, is driving too close.  

Try to manage your affairs so that you leave yourself some margin to handle the curves life throws at you.  With time, as with driving, you’re less likely to crash if you do.

— beth triplett

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: