About the Author

Jessica Turner is the author of Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose the Guilt, Work Smarter and Thrive, and blogs on The Mom Creative. Every day is a juggling act as she balances working full-time, making memories with her family, photographing the every day and trying to be...

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  1. I struggled for years with over committing myself, then a few years back I stared cutting back not just in my own event load but the event load of my kids as well. I thought they would notice and complain, but no one has, and it seems to me that we all enjoy life more than we use to, since we are not rushing here and there for the most part (there are still crazy days although rare now)

  2. i think sometimes we believe the pouring out of ourselves needs to be directly from the pitcher rather than a discerning, measured out cupful at a time. margin. love that. thank you jessica. –kris

  3. I am with you, Jessica! God led me to choose the word FOCUS this year for the same reasons. There is so many things out there – ministry included – that are not inherently bad… but when God is not calling you to them… life is cluttered, chaotic, and hurried. I think God is asking us to pull back this year… and listen… and focus… and have margin. Thanks!

  4. I’m trying to get really good at saying “no” and giving myself margin before our new little one is born this year. Nothing needs margin like a newborn…

  5. I tend toward the opposite, not wanting to overcommit, so pulling back everywhere! Some days I feel my children may be missing out, but with dividing their lives between two homes, I think the less they are pulled in so many directions the better. For this season, we are fairly free – it’s a blessing! Of course, we still have our crazy days!

  6. You are so exactly right Jessica. Yes yes yes this is a major problem for us Americans, us women in particular. I do believe that much of this activity overload is a characteristic of this age. (For I remember when I was a little girl, it wasn’t like this.) Information technology speed of light overload! God would have us “be still” much more often to marvel at His handiwork, to find our peace in Him. You are wise. Hang on to your vision to “create margin”. I have to say I think God will honor that worthy goal. http://www.writemomentswithgod.blogspot.com

  7. I am at a different point in life than most of you. Newly retired with frown children. After a lifetime of raising 4 daughters and working full time , I am spent! My days are ow full of time to pursue the things I have wanted to do, and taking care of grandchildren!

    My humble advice……. Always make time for what you want to do. Don’t wait! I hear women say all the time that they don’t have time to pursue hobbies, but I believe that there is always time for what is important to you. I have always been a needle worker/ knitter, and even while raising my daughters I would find time to sit and work on my handwork. I did it be cause it was important to me, to because the was free time.

    God blesses busy hands! But he also blesses quiet minds that listen to him. I put both together . 🙂

      • We knew what you meant. I too have mostly grown children and I love the balance that you’ve struck Wanda! We have to start with really thinking about what’s most important to us and make time for it…then fill in some time with lower priority stuff, which I tend to spend too much time on!

  8. This has been a recurring theme for me these past few years. As a single, I purposely decided to commit to ministry and increased levels of responsibility because I felt that this is truly the best time in my life to do so. However, it has been difficult at times. I had a similar situation to the one you described a week before Christmas. I had been sick for two weeks prior but once I started feeling better I was off and running again. I had nonstop commitments everyday for over a week and there was a fun event that I wanted to go to but it would have put a real strain on me. I reluctantly decided not to go. But when I thought on it later that evening I was so happy I didn’t. I too felt a wave of peace that I wouldn’t have experienced had I just kept pressing on.

  9. I have struggled with this too! Over the Christmas season, I made myself sick because of how crammed my schedule was. I’ve learned how important it is to have times we simply don’t HAVE to go anywhere or do anything.

  10. I CANNOT CONTINUE TO LIVE THIS WAY… wow! Just writing those words made me feel better! I’m the “GO-TO” girl and I am tired. I teach 4th grade all day and then do for everyone else’s kids after school; boy scouts, church choir, Sunday School, that I am too tired for my own son…shameful. For 2013 my one word is Simplicity and boy am I ready!

  11. Oh, yes, I’ve struggled, but I am very thankful for a wonderful godly mentor who came in to my life and is continually rem inding me..it is ok to set boundaries!

    If you haven’t read September McCarthy’s book: Hula Hoop Girl, please consider it! I read it 3x and go back to it often for reference! You can find it on the right side of my blog!

    Yes, I continue to have to set margins and boundaries and learn not to overcommit! Hardest thing is saying NO! 🙂 But I have found that I can’t do everything at once, and it is ok to say, not now!

    Chosen by Him,
    Trisha

  12. I had read somewhere, and I think this was supposed to be a joke, that no CEO of any company on his deathbed wished he had kept that board meeting. In other words, with all the “busy-ness” that Americans think they are supposed to be engaged in, they most likely will regret not relaxing and spending time with their families when they are about to die. If you knew you might not see your family again, what would you change?

  13. Often it is easy to say yes–especially if you are a Type A personality–like my pastor’s wife. She consistently says yes–until recently. She would say yes–overcommit and then complain how tired she was. We finally got her to say no to a few things and she feels better for it.

    Sometimes I say yes to things days in advance–but after getting up early up around 5ish and woworking all day, plus drive to from work-home–I usually just stay home. In my mind I’dliketo do a lot of things, but my age body tell me rest is necessary to not get sick.

  14. My kids are mostly grown now, so the busyness of family is not what it used to be. But I still manage to have too much on my plate…or allow too wide margins on my time for particular tasks and goals. I’m right now in the midst of trying to determine how to focus and be intentional with my time, very specifically, by using a detailed calendar/day planner. I fight that kind of order even though I know with a little practice, this would be a habit that would probably be freeing. I’m using Holley Gerth’s eBook The Do What You Can Plan (http://www.amazon.com/What-Plan-Ebook-Shorts-ebook/dp/B00AFWM2VS) to help me develop this new habit…and of course I’m relying on God’s power to Change me…and that’s my word for the year, Change.

  15. Yes, I struggle with this. At times it is just a season, but if I am honest it is moreso a coping mechanism. There are things in my life which are too much to deal with sometimes, and instead of trusting god in the uncomfortable places i run…wherever the calendar leads me.

    • Wow Sarah, you hit the nail on the head for me. I am struggling with my relationships so I work (volunteer, paid work, work around the house, any type of work). For me the excessive business is about hiding and running. It is a deceiving coping strategy, people give lots of positive feedback for having their tasks completed. It is only those closest to me that are hurt by all of the over doing. I really, really struggle with this because I need to have something to replace the over doing with and I need to value that replacement. To date, I haven’t found anything to help me cope better and I am really hurting.

  16. What a great thought- the freedom of NO. Leviticus 23:22 is a great scripture about leaving margin. My word this year is SIMPLIFY and my husband suggested I started by simplifying my time-making sure that my schedule reflects my priorities. I listened to a great message last night by Robert Morris about taking a sabbath! It was definitely convicting for me. Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2fSDgzz6ZU

  17. Wow! I think this must be the lesson of the year. 🙂

    God has given me two words…focus and rest (or let go). I can’t quite give words to the second idea, but I think margin is actually very close to what it is.

  18. This is my 2013 ~ To slow down. I have your calendar, I have your weeks of something going on every night and I finally said enough! Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God” is my verse for 2013. I have stepped down from several responsibilities and ministries and guess what? They will go on without me. I am not indispensable nor is anyone else. I’ve chosen to enjoy my family and my God this year! Scrapbooking is fun but I want to have many years to enjoy those memories!! Thank you for your your post it just reconfirms in my mind the necessity to slow down!

  19. Jessica . . . just this morning, I made a list of all the “little” things I’m involved in. My hope is that, by asking for God’s gentle guidance, I’ll get a sense of whether I need to make that list a little shorter.

    So, absolutely YES, I have experienced that struggle . . . . am there now . . . and am encouraged by your reminder. Thanks.

  20. I have to say that I could easily have this problem but as a stay-at-home mom with currently just my husband’s income and a very small gas budget that gets harder to manage when prices are up, our money dictates that we don’t go, go, go and after living the go, go, go way, it has been a peaceful change. and simple.

  21. I agree with Sarah’s thoughts. Sometimes, it’s easier to fill the calendar with commitments than to sit quiet and listen for the Still, Small Voice. I appreciate this reminder that there is freedom in saying no. And often, for me, that freedom in no allows me to say “yes” to something much greater – even if it’s not for a long time after.

  22. Learning to say no will be good for:
    – your health
    – your marriage
    – your relationships (God,friends,family,yourself)
    It is hard at first but some downtime brings one back to themself and that is a commitment that benefits everyone who loves you and helps you to love yourself.
    Good article!

  23. Learning to say no will be good for:
    – your health
    – your marriage
    – your relationships (God,friends,family,yourself)
    It is hard at first but some downtime brings one back to them self and that is a commitment that benefits everyone who loves you and helps you to love yourself.
    Good article!

  24. I’m lucky in that I have a personality which requires a lot of margin. I’m a homebody. I prefer to be home. That is where I am happiest. If I have a day out of town, I know I’m going to need a quiet day tomorrow. But I know people personally who struggle with being so busy that I can go months living in the same small town and not see them. I hope all of you who are working towards creating margin this year will see success!