Budgeting Your Time
A time budget is a schedule or assignment of time to specific tasks and activities. Your time account only contains 24 hours. Budgeting your time helps keep you from running out of time during tasks and projects. It also helps you have more time for what matters most.
To start budgeting your time wisely, make a list of the things you want or need to accomplish, then prioritize them. This should include work from your job, volunteering, things that make you feel good, and family obligations.
Blocking And Budgeting Your Time
• FIRST: add the things that you must do. I call these absolutes.
(eating, getting ready for the day, work, commute time, chores, etc.)
• SECOND: add things you would like to do. (reading, music, date night, etc.)
• THIRD: Remember to allow for leisure and private time.
• FOURTH: Use a calendar or planner. Do not fill in every minute. That is over-scheduling which can make it difficult to succeed.
You will need a realistic schedule. A realistic schedule includes more accurate time for each task or project. It is part of your time budget. Set aside a block of time devoted strictly to each task and project. Remember, for better time organization; schedule your tasks and projects before you begin.
- Determine how many hours a week you will need to do your work satisfactorily. This will vary with your abilities and the difficulty of projects or tasks. When you work for someone else, you are given a set schedule and deadline. At home, you can set your own deadlines.
- Keep in mind that you work better at certain times than at others. Are you a morning person? A night owl? When do you do your best work? I cannot tell you how many hours a week you should be setting aside for each project or task, but make sure the task is appropriate to your body clock.
Example: I write better early in the morning or at night when it is quiet. So, I try to schedule writing early enough in the morning but not so early that I am too tired to get up, or not so late that my eyes are closing while I type.
- It is best to establish a certain period of time that is devoted specifically to one task. We talk about this in our article, “Blocking Time For More Productivity” listed in our eBook: Absolutely! Create a Routine to Keep Your Sanity in a Crazy World: Simple Steps to De-Stress and Organize Your Time (scheduling help). You are then giving your work or specific task the priority it deserves. This is much better than letting things pile up. It is when we do not plan ahead and use our time productively that we become over-burdened with more tasks than there are hours to do them.
- Before you begin, jot down what you need to accomplish.
- Study your weak areas first while you are at your freshest. Use your high-energy time for important projects and low energy time for more mundane tasks.
- Leave Sunday out of the schedule, however, do schedule a brief amount of time (15-30 minutes) on Sunday night to organize yourself for the upcoming week.
- Remember that sometimes, especially before major projects, your allotted time may not be enough. You may have to cut into your leisure time to have enough time to get larger projects or tasks completed. Just try not to make a habit of it.
- If your projects or tasks do not take all of your scheduled time, use the extra time to work on other things you have been putting off, things you enjoy doing, or things you can gain a head start on.
- At the end of the day, take a quick evaluation of how you did, adjusting your schedule if necessary. Did you allow enough time for each task or project? Were you procrastinating?
As well as budgeting your time, you should also take care to organize your work area. Be sure that the area in which you do most of your work is clear of clutter and well stocked with supplies. You do not want to constantly get up and down searching for supplies when you need them. Furthermore, choose an area that is away from distractions so that you can stay focused once you get into a rhythm.
Most importantly, get a good night’s sleep, drink plenty of water, and eat healthy food! Did I miss anything? Do you have anything to add? Readers would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Copyright © 2003, 2014 Susie Glennan
All Rights Reserved.