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A Powerful Time Management Strategy – The Time Budget

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“Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose.”
-Thomas Edison

Do you sometimes stress trying to make time to finish everything by the end of the day?  

Or find yourself wishing there were just a few more hours?  

And most importantly – when you look back at how that time was spent, do you sometimes spend it other than how you intended?

Would you spend 10 minutes planning… if it could guarantee it would free up hours for you to spend on what you really wanted?

For me anything that helps me make more time is valuable.   Use this technique to set a course for your life – and I guarantee you a few minutes spent up front will pay hours in dividends.

Today join me in this discussion about how to create a time budget, and then a bonus tip at the end that I use to instantly make time for anything new that I let into my life.

Planning Your Days With A Time Budget

Budgeting where cash in your wallet goes is a great way to ensure you spend your money where your priorities are – and budgeting my time similarly ensure I spend my time appropriately on my priorities.

The first step to planning our days and week? Figure out what needs to go in the budget.

Must-Do versus Like-To-Do

One of the distinctions I make when I create a budget is what I must do versus what I like to do.  

Must Do: There are certain things that for me are simply non-negotiable in my current lifestyle.  The must do items aren’t necessarily difficult, they can be enjoyable – but they are the activities that you will make time for no matter what.

So, the first step for me in my budget? Determine my must dos.  

Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Yearly Budgets

I like to do my budgeting in terms of Daily, Weekly, Monthly, and Yearly activities.  

Also, I like to estimate high.  

If I end up with more time, that’s great – it’s always easy to fill the time with “Someday” projects and leisure activities if it’s there.

But far worse is overcommitting and not being able to fit in everything I have scheduled, and then need to make the decision to drop something much closer to the commitment.

So, let’s take a look at an example.

Daily Tasks

  • Daily Tasks.7 days a week.  
    • Sleep. 8 hours.
    • Hygiene. 1.5 hours.
    • Meals. .5 hours (if I’m just eating at home, this is the fastest it can get)
    • Total – 10 hours
  • Workweek/Weekday Tasks (5 days per week).    Consider a “normal” weekday workweek 
    • Work. 9 hours. This could include lunch and/or travel time break.

Weekly time used so far:

  • Daily: 10 x 7 = 70 hours
  • Weekday: 9 x 5 = 45 hours

Total weekly time used = 70 + 45 = 115 hours

Weekly Tasks

  • Weekly Tasks.
    • Time with friends and family. 15 hours (minimum must do).
    • Grocery shopping and cooking. 10 hours. (and I have data to back this up)
    • Chores. 6 hours (cleaning, random organizing, car maintenance, etc)

Total weekly time used = 115 + 31 = 146 hours

Monthly Tasks

  • Monthly Tasks.  These are often captured in the generic “weekly chores.”   However, perhaps you have a particular group you volunteer with, or have activities with that would fit in here.

Total weekly time used = 146 hours

Yearly Tasks

  • Yearly Tasks.  Here we have a lot of “life maintenance” type of stuff.  I just round it up.
    • Annual and biannual checkups. 20 hours (doctor, vision, dentist)

If you divide it out it comes out to less than an hour per week – I’ll go ahead and estimate high, and call it 1 hour per week.

Total weekly time used = 146 + 1 = 147 hours

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How Much Time Do You Actually Have?

Writing it out like this often is an eye opening experience.  Do you know how many hours there are in a week?

24 hours per day x 7 days per week = 168 hours per week.

So, based on these numbers, how much time would you actually have left for other items in your life?

168 hours total – 147 spent  = 21 hours left

And that is why any time that you have is so valuable.  

Out of 168 total hours, 21 hours is left over – and that’s it.

BUT…That’s still a lot of time – that comes out to 3 hours per day.

Maybe you have only an hour a day. Or maybe your have five or six.

The question is…are you making those minutes and hours count, or are you letting life pass you by?

Go Do Your Budget

Now that I’ve shown you step by step the basics, it’s your turn.

Put together your budget.

And remember – I do this same exercise with my paying clients.

Don’t discount how powerful it is: this is an exercise that has changed people’s lives.

Take it seriously – and it just might change yours

Get More Time Today

Need more time? Click to read about The Action Solution – my premiere, advanced training course. You’ll beat procrastination and accomplish the most you can with your time – and your life.

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By Sid Savara
Published February 14th 2014
4.6 Stars
2266 votes