I find it really fascinating that many of the principles I learned when studying graphic design also apply to life. There is one principle in particular that is really quite simple, but makes a huge difference – both in design and in life. If you ignore this principle your designs will not be pretty, nor effective, but will feel cluttered and claustrophibic. You get the exact same effect if you ignore this principle in your life.

The basic principle I am referring to, which I believe is the secret to creating better designs and a better life, is MARGIN.

According to visme.co, “Spacing and Margins are one of the key secrets experienced designers use to create clean well balanced design.  The fact is the principles are quite simple where anyone can follow and drastically improve their visual content.”

Margin, or white space, in design, are areas that are void of text or graphics.

Margin creates an invisible frame around your content and allows visual breathing room. It makes the content in design easily scannable, and significantly improves legibility and comprehension. Proper use of margin also helps guide the reader’s focus.

example of poor use of margin

The image above is an example of poor use of margin. The text runs too close to the edge of the graphic, and the lines are too close together. Also, the space above and below the text is not balanced. How does this graphic make you feel?

Now compare it with the graphic below.

example of good use of margin

How does this one make you feel? See what a difference good use of margin makes?

The same principle of margin holds true in our lives.

If our lives are so cluttered that we have no breathing room, it makes us more prone to feeling claustrophibic, anxious and overwhelmed.

Last fall I found myself feeling quite overwhelmed. But God had me change my perspective, and that is what prompted the theme for the Delight in the Word Challenge for November – Overwhelmed by God. It was at that time that I also realized that I needed more margin in my life. Even though I no longer had kids at home nor worked an 8-5 job, it seemed like I was always rushing to meet some deadline and having to say no to things that were important to me (like spending time with family.)

In reading the gospels, it is very clear that Jesus was never in a hurry.

Since Jesus is our example, I knew that something needed to change. I wasn’t sure how or what to change, so I prayed for wisdom. And then actually took the time to listen and pay attention to what God was telling me— which is that margin is the secret to creating better designs AND a better life.

Disclosure: Keep in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. I only link to products that I use and love (or that are on my wish list.) The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

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Then read below to find out what I’m doing to create more margin in my life.

Here are a few things I am now doing to help me create more margin in my life:

  1. Spending unrushed time in the mornings reading, studying, worshipping, praying, listening and journaling. (And not feeling guilty about not working on my to-do list during that time.)
  2. Keeping my phone on “Do not disturb” mode. That way the only way I am interrupted by a phone call or text message or notification is if someone on my Favorites list calls me. (This is helping me to be more productive, as well as, be less agitated.)
  3. Using grocery pickup or delivery service. (I still go to the grocery store sometimes, but using the pickup or delivery service saves me quite a bit of time. Plus, it forces me to plan ahead.)
  4. Planning a month or two in advance, instead of just a day or two. (For my business as well as for personal stuff.)
  5. Establishing routines. (So I know what to do next and don’t waste time trying to make decisions when I am tired.)

Want more tips on how to create more margin in your life so you have more time and energy for the things that are most important to you?

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Let me know if the comments below what tips you have for creating better designs or a better life.