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How To Budget Your Time

  August 22

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We chat a lot about budgets over here at Budget Blonde. Emergency funds, student loans, credit cards – you name it, we’ve discussed it. Yet, one thing we don’t talk about that much is budgeting time.

It’s a common problem these days. People have so many commitments and no time to do the things they really want to do. So I’m here to share how to gain some precious hours back and in the process, find some peace in your life.

I’d like to preface these tips by saying that I have a full time job. In addition to that, I spend about 20-25 hours a week on freelance writing projects and this blog. So, these tips are not coming from someone who has all the time in the world to begin with. In fact, it’s actually hard for others to understand that I choose to work like this because I absolutely love it. However, I think the reason that I love what I do is because I’ve found a way to work and still have time to do the things I want.

Here are some tips on how to find some extra hours regardless of how crazy your schedule is:

1. Know yourself first.

My experience living in Grenada has given me lots of time to be introspective. I’ve spent many hours figuring out what works for me. I’ve learned that in order to be happy, I have to get something accomplished during the day. In fact, if I lounge all day and don’t get out of my pajamas, I feel like my day was a total waste. So, if I spend all morning Saturday sitting on the front porch, looking at the water, and turning in 9 blog posts to a client, I am happy. However, you might only be happy if you get to spend your Saturday morning baking, taking a nap, spending time with your friends, etc. You have to know yourself before you know how to allocate your time best. For me, I need to get something accomplished before I allow myself a drink with friends or a date out to the movies.

2. Turn off the TV. 

I cannot think of a bigger time suck that TV. We haven’t had one in our home in almost 2 years. When the hubs and I first got married, we ate dinner in front of the TV and then just sat there for a while and flipped through channels like zombies. I think we were exhausted or maybe it was just a good excuse not to think about the day. The TV allowed us time to veg and zone out. Yet, when I cancelled the TV to save a little moolah, I found myself with so much time on my hands. That’s when I really got motivated and started to write a lot more.

3. Don’t hang out with people you don’t like.

Sounds harsh, but it’s true. Why are you wasting your time going to that book club meeting or that dinner with your friend’s wife when you really don’t want to go? Life is short, peeps. Spend your precious time with the people you love most.

4. Don’t overload yourself.

We’d all have a lot more time if we stopped having so many darn things to do. You want to paint every room in your house, take that trip to the mountains, get a promotion, bake cookies for your kid’s class, and write a book all while trying to be a good spouse, child, or parent. Peeps, it’s just too much. Only do what you actually like to do. And, more importantly, give yourself ample time to do it. Pick one small thing to do each day or each weekend, and mark on your calendar when you’d like it to be finished. Forget about doing things quickly or immediately. We all want instant gratification, but the best things come when you enjoy the journey.

While I can’t say I am perfect when it comes to any of these things, I’ve made the transition to taking things a bit slower. Call it being an island girl or whatever you like, but I can say with certainty that despite my busy work schedule, I feel more relaxed and more calm than I have ever felt.

What do you do to budget your time? What do you wish you could improve upon? (For example, I wish I could wake up earlier and gain another hour, but I am such a night owl!)

 

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16 responses to “How To Budget Your Time

  1. This is great, I would add: don’t be afraid to set limits for other people on your time.
    I get up early (usually 5am, 4 one day/week) to go running – so I let people know they shouldn’t call me late, including my boss. He’s a night owl, so if I hadn’t set those limits, he would call me at all hours wanting to talk about projects that aren’t immediate concerns. By setting them, I get to keep more “home time” separate from “work time”.

  2. Good tips, especially turning off the TV and stop spending time with people you don’t like. I would say it’s less of that and more of, “don’t do things you don’t want to do.” Also write a list and prioritize your day. If I only have time to either exercise or write/read blogs, then I drop the blogs (even though I LOVE IT), but exercise is more important. Stuff like that.

  3. Amen to #s 3 and 4! For my wife, when one couple we knew got pregnant, she decided to make them a baby blanket as a shower gift. CHeaper than most things on the list and more personal. Cool. THen someone else got pregnant and she did it again. And now THREE more couples we know got pregnant and my wife is starting to HATE making baby blankets. It’s becoming a big production and a t ime suck. So I told her exactly what you say here, “you’re overloaded. Stop the production line. Let’s just get them all a gift card and call it a day.” Sometimes you just have to take stuff off your plate! For myself, #3 was driving me crazy. I was hanging out with some dudes that I acutally didn’t really like, but figured tha tfriendship was important and stuff. My wife finally gave me the advice in #3. She said that it wasn’t worth it because I didn’t like the dudes and so wouldn’t I rather spend that itme with people I liked? Or alone?

  4. Great tips. I think, too, it’s important to remember that you DO have time, and just as much as anyone else. And every time you decide to spend your time doing X, that’s time you’re not doing Y and Z.

  5. it’s all about prioritization. You pick what’s most important and pour your time into that. If you find yourself doing things that you don’t care about, cut ’em out! We cut TV 4 years ago and have never looked back. I think Pinterest has replaced TV for my wife, and blogging for me, but we use them productively (blogging as a business, pinterest for house design and fun things to do with our son). But it is great to completely unplug one night a week and just enjoy time with each other. 🙂

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  7. Turning off the TV always doubles how much time I have. It is way to easy to get caught up in old episodes of Big Bang Theory and then accomplish nothing! Lists also help me out a ton!

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  9. CAT! I love this post! I have been thinking on such similar lines. We just got back from a week in the states and I brought home a new computer and a new camera. Two things I really want to learn the ins and outs of so I have been re-evaluate how I’m spending my time and get focused on my priorities.

    And Heck Yes! on the non productive day. For me, it’s working out … I use that to get out of my pjs and out of the house for an hour … cause we all know how we feel if that doesn’t happen. 🙂

  10. I agree with the tip not to hang out with people you don’t like, with one caveat: sometimes people we don’t like at first can turn out to be wonderful friends, so it’s good stretching yourself until you’re really *sure* you don’t like them. Then, by all means, don’t waste time on them!

  11. I just discovered your blog as I was searching for “how to budget your time. I really like you and your writing. You are wise for your age….but since I am a young 62, I would say you will have much to challenge you and make you re-think things as you begin to raise your family! But hang in there! You live in a wonderful place and seem to have a wonderful husband, and hope you keep blogging as you live through your exciting but challenging new days to come! Looking forward to more of your thoughts!

    1. Hi SJ! Thank you so much for stopping in and for the kind words! I hope you’ll stick around and continue to read about our journey. I’m back in the US now and expecting twins, so there will be lots of fun posts about time management and our new life coming up soon! 🙂 All the best, Cat

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