The solution to overload


We live in an overloaded world and we are suffering for it.  We are overloaded with activity. We are overloaded with choices. We are overloaded with commitments. We are overloaded with debts. We are overloaded with decisions. As a result, we are worn out, burned out and just plain tired.

What is the solution to overload?

Margin is the solution to overload. Margin is the opposite of overload.  Richard Swenson in his book “Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives” defines margin this way:

“Margin is the space between our load and our limits.  It is the amount allowed beyond that which is needed.  It is something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations.  Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating.” (pg. 69)

If we are overloaded we have no margin.

According to Swenson the formula for margin is straightforward:

Power – Load = Margin.

Power is made up of factors such as energy, skills, time, training, emotional and physical strength, faith, finances and social supports.

Load is made up of such factors as work, problems, obligations and commitments, expectations (internal and external), debt, deadlines and interpersonal conflicts.

When our load is greater than our power we are overloaded.

When our power if greater than the load we have margin.

According to Swenson, to increase margin we need to “simply increase power or decrease load – or both” pg. 70.


What are you doing to increase power or decrease load?

Categories: Personal growth


  • jasonS says:

    That’s a great formula and concept. What do I do? I make time for prayer and family and rest. Otherwise, I turn into toast (burnt at that) very quickly! Thanks Kevin.

  • Inspirational article Kevin. When I stopped creating lengthy daily to do lists for myself that really helped -now I give myself 3 “big rock” things to accomplish each day that relate directly to my goals. I may or may not do more, but after those three things, my priority is health, family and friends.

    • Having the right priorities is definitely a big part of living with margin. I am slowly learning to be a lot more proactive in my rest. My strategy for the last year has been to plan life around my breaks instead of planning breaks around my life. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing Marquita!

  • Mandy Swift says:

    Hi Kevin. Great concept. So often we think we have to ‘let go’ of stuff when we are facing overwhelm. Equally important, however, is learning to increase our ‘inner power’ to deal with the overload.
    Great post, thanks

  • I am involved with a number of projects and really related to the overload. I usually function on very minimal margin and am wondering if I should change my ways. thanks for your interesting article. Sybil

  • “When our load is greater than our power we are overloaded.”

    To this I dare add that “When our stress is greater than our rest we are distressed” and thus I am consciously deleting stressful thoughts from my mind so that I can mentally rest even when I am in a physically stressful situation.

  • Lynn Jones says:

    Hi Kevin, I am working on getting more organized. I picked up Bryan Tracy’s Eat That Frog. I am at that point where I am re-evaluating my activities and trying to determine which ones are truly valuable for my business. The information in your post helps.
    Have a great week!

  • Kevin, truly awesome…

    I agree, that edifies the drive to consistently educate yourself in our industry. This is always known, that information is power. The more you really get involved with others in our business. The more you will acquire knowledge, that can be applied to various things, that will pop-up.

    Just remembering, with a team of passionate skilled others. You can accomplish more with less stress, time, and energy. Utilizing leverage is key. Everyone working for the good of the group, works well.

    You can handle any load, with being well organized and understanding how to master leverage. I know that if it was not for learning daily from others. Keeping balanced with family and business. Knowing that I call all the shots. I do not work for anyone else. This is more of a relief, than every.

    I enjoy what I do. That is my passion, to support the personal growth of others. This would by empowering them to burn with hunger for personal growth. Then edifying them all the way, in accomplishing their success, as they determined. That is all I do with my business. The amazing point of my team and I. We have just duplicated a simple process, that everyone can duplicate. This is a wonderful journey, that I am blessed to be a great part of.

    Kevin, your simply an empowering person. One who delivers content that is felt through the choice of words being used. Your a great visionary in our industry. One that others would be blessed to have as a mentor. Being involved with you on any level is beneficial, to all.

    I look forward to your next great post. Knowing,wisdom will be giving.

  • Stevie Smith says:

    Hello Kevin,

    This was one of those aha moment for me, looking at the equation and realizing that this is exactly why I sometimes feel overwhelmed. You have certainly given me a reason to look at my work load and see if everything I do every day is truly necessary.

    Keep the Smiles,


  • Interesting formula Kevin.

    I create Margin by focusing and not feeling guilty about those items that I allow to fall into that margin.


  • Hello Kevin,

    At one time I was working 50 plus hours per week. If it had not been for prayer, most times as I worked and drove around town or exercised.

    I have found that helps me with overload and just plain relaxing.


  • Linnea says:

    Hi Kevin,

    What a great point. I tend to jump first to figuring out how to reduce the load rather than trying to increase my power. Thank you for this. Like Marty, I focus on the 3 most critical things that I must get done and then go from there. I find that helps a lot.

    • Hi Linnea:

      Finding ways to increase our power is so important. This is something that I have been working hard at the last number of years.

      Thanks for sharing!

  • Hans Schoff says:

    Hey Kevin, I like that simple formula. Increase your POWER or decrease your LOAD to increase your MARGIN. Never heard of it in those terms before but very simple and easy to understand. Makes it a lot easier to understand overload and how to avoid it, thanks!

  • Steve-Personal Success Factors says:

    Kevin, you said it best in one of your comments. I believe Marquita also touched on it: planning our lives around our breaks, versus planning breaks around our lives. I’m definitely not there yet, but I’m going to keep that mantra in mind. Our Lord Jesus certainly seemed to do that quite a bit.

    • Hi Steve:

      This is something that I have had to be very deliberate about. So much so that I plan my breaks/holidays up to a year or more in advance. Once I add them to my calendar everything else gets scheduled around it (with in reason of course).

      Thanks for sharing!

  • Hello Kevin

    Decreasing load and increasing power is what helps me to prevent overload. You can get into a trap when trying to decrease the load if you are doing this in your own power (conscious efforts). What I do to decrease load is spend quite time asking for guidance as to what needs to be eliminated. As to increasing power prayer and quite time is my answer, for power comes from God. Life is not about doing it is about being. We are not called human doing but human being


    Perry A Davis Jr
    Music City

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