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We want to say “Yes” to good things. A great project with awesome people? Yes! An opportunity to speak? Yes! Create an awesome product on the side? Of course! But saying “Yes” to too many good things can leave us in a place where we don’t have the freedom to say yes to something that would be great.

Margin decreases stress. Margin helps you look at your current projects objectively and plan for the future. Margin enables you to act on spur-of-the-moment inspiration. We look at how to create margin, how much margin is enough, and if there’s such thing as too much.

Show Notes
  • 05:55 You have to say no to a lot of good things in order to be able to say yes to a lot of great things.
  • 07:47 Pricing projects to include margin.
  • When should you turn down a good thing?
  • 08:26 It’s hard to say no to good projects. Here’s how I know when I need to turn down something good:
    • I imagine myself saying “Yes.” What immediate feeling do I get? Apprehension? If so, “Yes” was the wrong answer to give.
    • As soon as I turn down that “awesome” job and get a sense of relief, I knew I made the right choice.
  • Why do you need to create margin?
  • 10:38 Benefits of creating margin:
    • It gives you the space to think.
    • It gives you room to breathe so that you can look at your current projects more objectively.
    • It decreases stress.
    • It helps you plan for the future better.
    • It lowers anxiousness.
    • It keeps you from worrying about the next thing that’s about to start.
  • Ok, I have margin—now what?
  • 13:59 You can pursue side projects with that margin. Who knows what could come of those side projects. Or…
    • Make something that helps people.
    • Work on a project that could potentially increase your exposure.
    • Find something new that you enjoy doing.
  • 15:51 Intentionally creating margin allows you to have guilt-free free time (Related: e004 Guilt-Free Free Time).
  • Margin on a smaller scale
  • 16:34 You could structure your week so that you have a 4-day work week. It may sound crazy to imagine a 4-day work week, but if we’re disciplined enough to really get the work done in those 4 days and have them be really focused work days, it’s very possible to have Friday be a free day.
  • If we’re really honest with ourselves, we waste a ton of time every day.

  • 17:29 Focus on the quality of hours, not the number of hours.
  • 20:34 A lot of good can come out of the freedom of having dedicated, scheduled time off just to do things that you want to. That could be pursuing a side project or writing or working on a new product—whatever.
  • How much margin is enough? How much is too much?
  • 26:48 If you’re not charging enough, then you’re not going to be able to sustain very much margin.
  • 27:38 It’s a seasonal thing. There are going to be times where you have to put in the hard work.
  • 28:08 However, it’s also a balanced thing. Find ways to create margin where you’re at. It’s a mindset you have, and that mindset will scale.
  • 28:51 “How do I create margin where I’m at right now, when I feel like I can’t afford to create margin?”
  • 29:04 Structure your day to create more highly focused areas of work time. You’ll get much more done in an hour of focused time than you will in 4 hours of not-focused time. Cut out distractions. Get rid of time-wasters.
  • 29:34 You can create margin in your life right now, wherever you’re at, even if you feel like you’re overloaded by taking control of how you spend your time. What things are you not doing?
  • 29:48 I like to have highly structured work days, and then pockets of margin or freedom.
  • 32:34 “Is it a matter of scheduling free time, or restraining the amount of concentrated work time that you schedule?”
  • 34:56 For as much as I try to optimize my time and maximize output, I find the best results often come from slowing down and allowing myself margin.
  • 40:43 “How do you tell the difference between wanting to say “No” because you’re scared and wanting to say no because you feel like you don’t have the capacity?”
  • 47:16 Ask yourself before you commit to something:
    • Why am I doing this?
    • What is my purpose?
    • Why am I adding this to my plate?
  • 47:59 Why am I doing this? Is this really a commitment I should be making? You have to know the answer to these questions, because you will find yourself halfway into something and you will be wondering these things. The answers you prepared beforehand are what will keep you going through the hard times.