Empty space, right? A strict utilitarian might look at empty space like a margin in a book, newspaper, or a website as wasted opportunity.
Fill it with more color, more ads, more text, more-more-more.
Once it’s full though, the margin has lost its original intended use: a passive method of delineation.
A book’s margins don’t necessarily represent a failure to utilize one-hundred percent of a piece of paper or a screen. Sometimes, when it’s done with intention, it can be used to create the space necessary to help draw the eyes to the what matters: the content or the message. It delineates the content from the medium.
An investor or CEO might see the margins on a balance sheet or financial report and think that they’re not big enough. A better question might be “what does the lack of margins represent?” Does it represent consistent, sustained investment in growth? Or does it mean there’s some misalignment of priorities? Margins in this case might delineate a successful strategy from one that isn’t.
Margins are everywhere. Margins for error, margins for budgets, even the proverbial “margins” of our lives and the events that fill them.
In the micro-view, in purely focusing on our personal or professional lives specifically, what do the margins represent? Do they represent intentional separation of concerns and delineation? Or does it represent space? An opportunity for something?
What we decide to do with those margins is part of the work. And it’s an opportunity many of us get but few of us utilize to its fullest potential. Choose wisely.