When most people hear the word “budget” they think of their finances. It makes sense because money is a resource that needs to be managed. However, your time is a resource too. In fact, I would argue your time is even more valuable because you can’t get it back. That’s why it’s important that you also create a time budget for your life.
What is the purpose of a time budget?
I like to think of a time budget as a guideline that helps you spend your time the way you want to spend it. Granted, sometimes there are things we don’t want to do – like go to the dentist or pay taxes. But, for everything else, it’s important that we find time for the things that matter to us. For most people that looks like relationships, health and their careers. The only way to do this is to manage our time wisely and with intention.
How do you create a time budget?
The first step is already done – which is to determine what matters to you in life. The next step is to figure out what each of these important things looks like. Remember, your time is a limited resource so it must be used wisely. Let’s start with career since that takes up a lot of our time each week.
What does being intentional in your career look like? What tasks will actually move you forward with your goal? What tasks are a waste of time or cause you to move backward? When do you stop working each day.
The last one is especially important because you have other areas of your life that matter to you as well. Chances are you didn’t go into business for yourself to work all the time, especially because many people crave work life balance.
Once you determine when you work, you also need to determine when you do other things. For example, I go to a fitness class on Mondays and Thursdays. I also dedicate weekends to friends and family.
How do you stick to a time budget?
In order to stick to your time budget, you need to have certain things in place. Just like you use apps and boundaries for finances, you also need them for your time. Here are some things that will help you stick to your time budget:
- A calendar application. Let’s be real, if something isn’t on your calendar it doesn’t actually exist. Furthermore, a calendar application can help you time block tasks and activities. It can also let others know when you’re not available.
- Very strong boundaries. People will take advantage of your time if you let them. That’s why it’s up to you to have very strong boundaries. Don’t hand over control of meetings and learn how to say no. Otherwise, you give away too much of your most valuable resource.
A time budget is just as important as a budget for your finances. Both resources need to be managed to the best of your ability for a balanced life. It’s up to you to determine how you want to spend your time and protect it.