Have you ever considered setting a time budget? If you want to gain more time in your day, you have to be aware of how you are currently spending your time.
Let’s face it. Most of us wish we had more time to get more things done, but despite what the government tries to convince you with DST, you don’t get more time.
You have to find ways to make more of the time you have.
When you implement a time budget into your business and life plans, you’ll find that you have all the time you need to make things happen.
Wait – What is a Time Budget?
A time budget is simply a way you schedule and manage your time. But in order for a time budget to work, you have to use it. A calendar on your phone with alarms you simply snooze will not manage your time. Ultimately, a time budget only works if you put it to work.
Several years ago (and shortly after first being married). I put together a budget. I made a list of all that we were spending (and probably more than a few items that I WANTED to spend). When the budget was complete, I shared it with my new husband.
He didn’t laugh at me, but he came close. “How much do we have coming in?” He handed the paper back to me.
“Your budget doesn’t include what we have coming in.”
I hadn’t made a budget as much as I had made a list of monetary dreams.
Too often, when it comes to our time budget, it is more of a wish than an actual budget.
How Do You Get More Time?
No matter who you are or what your position is in life (or even when you live your life) you get twenty-four hours in each day. That’s it. Daily time is finite. You can’t make more. You can’t get back what has gone past. You get what you get and that’s all that you get.
Despite the finiteness of time, there are infinite ways to make more of the time you are allotted.
Working Through a Time Audit
Do you know how you spend the time you have?
It’s an amazing reality that people invest more into understanding their finances than they do their time. We even pay people to help with managing our finances.
But we never consider making a similar investment into our time.
You can make more money, but you will never make more time. You can make more money, but you will never make more time.
You have to choose to be acutely aware of the time you have.
Steps for a Time Audit
- Record your time. When you are doing a financial audit, you look at how each penny has been spent. You need to do the same with your time. Keep a record of every minute of your day for at least a week.
NOTE: If you are doing your time audit during an off period (like during the holidays) you may want to keep track of your time for a little longer to get a better average of how you are investing your time.
- Categorize your time. Set your time into different areas: aspiration (work and profession); transformation (health and emotional wellbeing); stewardship (stuff); and fellowship (relationships). How does your schedule weigh out?
- Review your time. Look over where you are investing your time and how you are investing your time. Make notes about where you are satisfied, where you want to see change, and how you want to see the change play out.
- Evaluate your time. Think about what matters most on your time audit. Rank where you are currently investing your time from most important to least important. What would you not miss if it was taken out of your time allotment?
- Restructure your schedule. Allow the time audit to guide your schedule. Make space for the things that matter. Begin to remove the things that don’t matter. Remember to leave plenty of time for your sleep and rest (and according to your needs, not according to some chart).
As you work through your time audit, you will discover you have more time available than you realized. Little bits of time slip by while we are waiting in line, waiting for the coffee to brew, or waiting for your family to GET IN THE CAR ALREADY!
The more you understand how you are currently spending your time, the better equipped you will be to make a better plan for your time investments.
How do you find extra time?
Have you ever stopped to think about how long a task takes?
This morning, I noticed that if I started my coffee I had just enough time to water the plants before my coffee finished brewing. The other day I noticed the time to empty the dishwasher was about the same as cooking the dinner rolls.
In other words, the extra time we need in our day can often be found in the little bits of time that are spent waiting.
Ideas For Little Bits of Time
Break bigger tasks into five-minute or ten-minute segments.
You can get big things done a little bit at a time (and the task won’t seem so overwhelming). Instead of cleaning out the closet, clean one drawer or one section at a time. Instead of vacuuming the whole house, vacuum one room.
Make more of your wait time.
The best thing your handheld technology can do is allow you to work while you wait. It’s amazing how much time you spend each day waiting – from the line at the grocery store to the waiting room at your doctor’s office (and let’s not forget the second wait in the actual examining room). Make this time work for you by doing small tasks.
- Empty your email
- Answer one email
- Review your calendar for the week or next day
- Make notes on current projects
- Catch up on social media (essential if you are a small business or entrepreneur)
- Find a dinner recipe
- Order groceries to be picked up or delivered
Find creative ways to use the little bits of waiting time to get more done. The more little bits you gather, the more those little bits add up to big differences.
Block out distractions
It’s easier today to get distracted than at any time in history. Not only is there 24/7 noise to contend with, but there are notifications dinging at you to amplify the noise. Plus, many of us have been sent to work from home/school from home which means your family adds to the distractions and noise.
- Block out distractions by blocking out time to get things done. Set aside the time you need for larger tasks and focus completely on those tasks until you are done.
- Block out distractions by getting away. Go to a room away from the family. Go to the library. Go to a hotel room for the weekend.
- Block out distractions by putting up a sign. You can hang a sign on your door, post a notice on your social media, or set a message on your phone or device. Let others know that you aren’t currently available (but be sure to also let them know when you will be available).
You have all the time you need to live out your goals and dreams. The key is understanding how you are spending your time and then making a plan that will allow you to make more of the time you have available. When you learn how to implement a time budget, you will have time enough to spare.
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