“Money is not the only way to improve life. Instead of widening your margin of profit, widen your margin of leisure. Instead of optimizing for money, optimize for time. Instead of seeking efficiency, seek recovery.” —James Clear
When I was about 23, I had an epiphany: Some of the things I thought I “had” to do I might not actually have to do.
I came up with a mantra for myself: “If it stresses you out and you don’t have to do it, don’t do it.”
This seems so blatantly obvious, but it was truly revolutionary for me at the time.
I honestly hadn’t ever let ease be a priority.
Fast forward 17 years, and I’m crushing it with my Margin of Leisure.
I put in the time it takes every week to do great work for my clients.
I also build in a lot of buffer so I can have the life I want NOW, not in some imaginary future after I retire.
This has felt edgy.
I’ve felt guilty at times for not prioritizing working even more hours, or taking on even more clients.
But then I remember: I get one life.
I don’t need to listen to the Hustle Culture stories about how I should spend it.
So… how’s your margin of leisure? What would happen if you let widening it be a goal this quarter?
PS – A margin of leisure also allows for a margin of error. Example: Even though I was too sick to work last week, I’m still finding it possible to start to catch up on client work without killing myself this week, thanks to the leisure I have built-in as a matter of course.
This post was originally sent as an email to the Magic Words of the Week newsletter list. Every week, I share reflections on a word, quote, or phrase I think will help you thrive in your life’s work.