I was in a training program all day. Devoting an entire day to a learning event takes a lot of planning: first to hold the day clear, and second, to KEEP the day clear! What added to the challenge was that it was a virtual training. I sat at my desk in Massachusetts, the trainer was in a studio in California, and the other participants were across multiple time zones, too.
Learning in this kind of environment requires additional devotion to being fully present, and to being an active rather than a passive learner. It helped that I am committed to the training topic, I have great respect and admiration for the presenter, and I was excited to get the chance to learn with some people I’ve never worked with before.
As I reflect on this very full day, my big “take-away” was the aphorism espoused by the trainer a number of times: less is more. Certainly, she stated it regarding the writing activity we were devoting ourselves to completing. At scheduled times, we would read our drafts aloud and receive feedback. Invariably, the writer would state that he/she wrote the feedback in the margins.
That’s my learning: we need margins. The trainer wanted us to write as succinctly and clearly as possible, hence her less is more advice. But in the frame of margins, I see less is more as a gift for other facets of my life, too. With margins, what matters is surrounded and protected. With margins, we can add, or expand, when needed. With margins, we can highlight what impacts us. This happens with the written word, of course. It also happens with the manner we schedule our days (is it too full?) or share in conversations (is enough time afforded for thoughtful response?).
From planning to devote a day to writing, to taking the time to talk to a family member, to delivering service to a client, do you have margins? Are you allowing less to be more?