With Margin, we talk extensively about how to get things off your plate and why you should prune your activities and commitments, but what about advice on how to decide what to add to your plate? I think that is one of the main parts of determining whether we keep margin once we have it. It’s so easy to keep adding when things seem calm or less chaotic.
With school about to start back up, I thought it would be a great time to talk about a few questions that might be helpful to ask ourself before we make any commitments for ourself, kids or family.
1. Is this something I am passionate about? Is it part of my core mission or purpose?
2. What obstacles will make this a challenge each week/month/year?
Example: The fall Bible study I want to lead overlaps with dinner time each Tuesday night. Am I already gone too much during the week? The conference is during my boy’s little league tryouts. Do I want to miss out? Can someone else take him?
3. What things can I do to streamline or automate this new commitment?
Example: If I want to add a blog post every week, should I consider a guest blogger? Or if I commit to a monthly newsletter, can I design a template that will make it easy each month?
4. Is there a chance that the size of the commitment will change or am I underestimating the commitment?
Example: If it’s a program or project that is just starting, it might be hard to determine time commitment so the answer would be yes, it might require more than expected.
5. Is this something God wants me to be a part of?
Praying about even little decisions is always important. We are inviting God into our decision making process. You most likely won’t get an audible or even clear yes or no but you can ask God to close doors that need to be closed and to open the right one. You can pray for peace when you make the decision He is calling you to or even pray He would stir your heart if you have made the wrong decision.
Answering these things immediately before we even commit will help give us an accurate gauge for how something will alter our daily life balance. You won’t be blindsided when a big commitment you’ve taken on coincides with a big project for work (this is of course unavoidable sometimes) and will help us avoid those, “what did I get myself into” seasons of life.
Are there other questions that you think would be helpful to figuring out what projects or commitments you will take on?