7 Steps to Start Creating Margin

Life with 5 kids and a sales job that has me driving 100-200 miles per day is very busy.  2013 was a new beginning for me as I re-awakened the intentional monster within me.  This gnawing feeling of knowing I can do much more in all pillars of my life (faith, finances, career, family, fitness), created a 2013 of discovery.  2014 will continue this path and will add elements of achievement and accomplishment that will undoubtedly create more discovery.

It Gets Crazy Busy After Keynote

It Gets Crazy Busy After Keynote (Photo credit: Sklathill)

 What I have discovered is no matter how much I need to accomplish in a given day, I only get 24 hours.

The goals I have created based on my family’s mission and my obligations are difficult, time/focus consuming, yet achievable.  I wrote a post a while ago about the tyranny of the mundane.  As my goals (and family) get larger, these “mundane” tasks  wreak more havoc on my ultimate plan.  In a nutshell, my vision is to achieve my personal and professional goals, enjoying every step of the journey without sacrificing family time or assuming I can be “daddy” or a “better husband” once my goals are met.  Bottom line is I need more margin.  I need to do laundry, grocery shop, soccer practice, dishes, etc.  I need to be organized and eliminate clutter.  I believe there are many readers attempting the same thing.  Here is a list of  7 important things to start with as we eliminate clutter and enjoy our lives more.

1.  Live intentionally. Schedule time to plan tasks based on goals you have defined.  If you are doing activity that doesn’t match these goals, STOP!
2.  Overoptimism is over booking.  Understand that you can only accomplish so much.  Stop scheduling your days/weeks tasks based on perfect world, ‘“best case scenarios”.
3.  Eliminate redundancies.  My grocery shopping has been a weekly event with at least 2 stops and sometimes 4 stops (Trader Joes, SuperWalmart, Costco, and Stater Bros Grocery Store). As a goal oriented person I have given myself 4 weeks to research and implement a way to shop for 2 weeks at a time and break my stops to Costco and Trader Joes.  I am looking into automation through Amazon Prime, but the Jury is still out on this.
4.  Timing is everything.  I am more focused and productive in the morning.  It makes more sense to schedule creative and focus centric tasks in the morning and the more mundane tasks in the afternoon.
5. Remain Curious.  While I wouldn’t recommend changing your routine on a weekly basis, be open to learning new ways to do things.  I am a growing fan of the Simple Life Together (SLT) Podcast, Beyond the To Do List, and many other productivity/effectiveness Podcasts.
6. Consider going digital.  Eliminate as much clutter and accessibility issues as  possible.  I am a huge fan of Evernote.  I used to stumble around in an anxiety induced stupor looking for things like birth certificates (always needed to sign up for kids’ sports), shot records, social security cards, etc. I am in the process of migrating a lot of my “filed’ documents into Evernote.  The accessibility is amazing.  I will be writing more on the Amazing Evernote in the near future.
7.  Automate.  I recently heard the phrase “touch it once” on the SLT Podcast.  Certain emails and other electronic documents can be automatically stored into Evernote for reference and easy retrieval.  Programs such as “If this then that” are valuable tools.  As I stated earlier, Amazon Prime can eliminate stops to the grocery store (free shipping).  Hiring gardeners, dry cleaners, and housekeepers can create margin usually at a nominal cost.  Unless you enjoy these tasks, you can be working toward your ultimate goals or simply relaxing while someone else does the work that must be done but you don’t want to do.
With these 7 steps, I have only just begun.  Number 1 on the list is the overall theme of this blog:  intentionality.  If you are living intentionally, you are either doing these things or will eventually to come the conclusion that these are valuable pieces of advice.  Share with me some of your tools.  I am particularly interested in automation tools and how to reduce the grocery shopping burden.
Rocco
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About Rocco De Leo

I am Rocco DeLeo. For years, I felt like I had so much more to offer the world than simply going to work and coming home. While I've always found my work to be engaging and rewarding, I knew I had much more to offer. Over the last few years, I've started focusing on personal development, my relationship with God, and what to do next. I write and podcast (And Dad Makes 7 Podcast) at www.roccodeleo.com about this journey. Mostly, I enjoy sharing the struggle, but sometimes I find some wisdom to share. My wife Jamie and I are raising a blended family with 5 children. Thankfully she stays home. When I'm not creating, I'm usually running trails, fishing with my kids, or enjoying a cigar in my backyard.

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