Time is money and just like money, every individual has a limited amount of time to work with. By managing your “time budget”, you may able to balance your time better and enjoy life to the full.
Keep Track of Your Time
When you budget your money, you tend to keep a detailed log of where and what you spend it on. The same goes for a time budget, keeping track of how and what you spend your hours on can help you manage your time budget better.
Using a good old fashioned planner or even just a digital calendar can help you record what you do in a day. Just ensure that you will actually use the log to help analyse how you spend your time.
Analyse your time inventory for a week. Take a look at how your activities fit into various categories such as work, family, fitness, leisure and other areas.
Create Your Time Budget
Once you have a better understanding of how you currently use your time, you’re ready to move on to creating a time budget designed to maximise the hours of your day.
According to DaveRamsey.com, the envelope budget system involves literally dividing cash into envelopes for each spending category (household expenses, food, transportation, clothes, etc.). This system works for a time budget, too. You do not necessarily need envelopes (seven columns on a sheet of paper would also do the trick), but it might be a fun exercise to help you visualise your time commitments per category:
- Lay out seven envelopes on a desk or table, one for each day of the week.
- Using coloured index cards (each colour corresponding to a time expenditure category — family, work, exercise, etc — write an activity and the time it takes to complete.
- Now fill each envelope with what you think will fit into each day of the week.
If the amount of time represented on your cards in any of your envelopes adds up to more than the number of the waking hours you have on that day, you may need to do some shuffling.
Know When to Say No
Trying to juggle every activity and person in your life may eventually lead to a burnout. Instead of fitting everyone into your agenda – leave a little time for yourself.
Whether it’s work or personal – knowing when to say no can not only help you manage your time budget better but also pursue a healthy balanced lifestyle.
Do not be afraid to say no to meeting a few friends over drinks on a Friday, especially if you’ve been working OT the whole week before.
Subsequently, if your boss is giving you too many weekly tasks for you to handle, be sure to raise the issue, as it is better for you to turn in quality work rather than sloppy, half-finished pieces that she/ he will probably ask you to do again.
A time budget is a guide. It only works if you stick to it. But it is not set in stone — and you’re the boss! By accepting the fact that life is unpredictable, a time budget is merely a starting point and you can readjust your time budget accordingly.
Money and time are the two most precious commodities an individual has – and they’re often wasted with the same mistakes or saved with the same techniques. Harness the most basic techniques of time management and apply them to your finances, and soon you’ll have more of both to spend on the things you need.
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