My Time Budget

posted by Andrea | 02/21/2011

time budget

I’ve always thought it was/is really important to create a financial budget and implement limits for yourself as to what you will and will not spend money on.

However, over the last few years, I’ve also realized how important it is to decide what you will and will not spend your time on — so I created a “time budget”.

This might be a foreign concept for some, but I’m convinced that a time budget is one of the best ways to stay focused, limit distractions, and get more done.

What is a Time Budget?

Don’t worry, it’s NOT fancy… I don’t even have a fun spreadsheet like my financial budget!

A “Time Budget” is simply a map or chart that shows how you will spend the hours in your day.

Here’s a really quick example of how to create your own time budget:

  • Grab a piece of paper and pen.
  • Write “24 hours” on top
  • Then subtract the number of hours you plan to sleep {I try to get at least 7 hours}
  • Then subtract the number of hours you’ll be at work or away from your house
  • Whatever number you have left is the number of hours you have to do everything else for the day

For example: if I sleep for 7 hours, work with a client for 5 hours, work on my blog for 3 hours, and have a meeting for 2 hours, that only leaves 7 hours to do EVERYTHING else {get ready, eat and prepare meals, cleaning, errands, commute, etc}

  • So the next step is to take that remaining number and divvy it up to accommodate all your other daily responsibilities
  • If you run out of time, you’ll have to rearrange your schedule a bit and possibly drop one of your activities {just like you have to rearrange your budget if you run out of money}

Your time budget doesn’t have to be an exact science. It should simply be another tool to help you better manage your time and create more time for the things you love.

If you want to have 1 hour each day to work on a craft, read a book, check Facebook, or go for a walk; schedule that into your time budget.

If you want to have 20 minutes of one-on-one time with each child, schedule that into your time budget.

First schedule the activities that are important to you and then use whatever time you have left for all the other “stuff” that always seems to pile up — it can probably wait anyway!

Do You Have a Time Budget?

Have you ever tried using a time budget? Did it help you to better manage your time?

Of course, there are always exceptions to every situation — and I’m sure you will put different things on your time budget than I have on mine. There are even a few things that I specifically DON’T put on my time budget…but I’ll talk more about those on Thursday.

Try creating a time budget for yourself…and then let me know how it goes!

{top image credit}

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2 comments

  1. heidi @ wonder woman wannabe

    02/22/2011

    yes! i like to do this too. i like to do it in the form of a pie graph divided into 24 sections. it’s fun to color in the ‘need-to-do’ spaces and see how much white space is left (or how much time is ‘wasted’ as well)

    cheers!

    ~h

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I know. it’s really easy to spot wasted time when you’re using a time budget! I like to think I’m really efficient and productive, but even I’m pretty good at wasting time!

    [Reply]