Ep. #66 – Creating A “Time Budget” So You Don’t Overspend
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”
– Paul J. Meyer – American Author
In this episode you’re going to learn how to create a time budget so you don’t overspend your minutes in one area of life when it should be spent on another. Just like a financial budget, you’re going to learn how to plan out the areas of your week in advance, on paper.
Well, if you’re smart financially, you don’t just budget for your known bills, you also budget in advance for the non-bills. Those items which you can’t plan for, but just take up the extra cash.
In fact, I’d say that’s probably the more important items to budget for, because they’re the ones where you’re most likely to lose track of your money and have it magically disappear, right?
Creating a Time Budget
Why aren’t we doing this with our time as well?
Maybe you’re like me and you’ve got your calendar app on your phone, your tablet and your computer.
You’ve got 2 meetings today and a call with prospective client at 3pm. You know how your days going to work out.
But, what about the times in between those meetings and calls? What do you have planned for those? Just like with your money, your time is most likely to magically disappear in between your calendar items. This is what has happened to me and I’m setting out on a new project, to create a time budget or as Michael Hyatt from MichaelHyatt.com calls it “your ideal week.”
What’s an Ideal Week?
As Michael Hyatt says “I first needed clarity about what I WANTED my calendar to look like. Most of us aren’t doing this. Someone fires off an email and wants to meet about a new project, we look in our calendar and make sure that time is open and then schedule it.
That’s like looking at your bank balance to see if you can afford to go out to dinner. It’s not what’s in your account that matters, it’s what you’ve allotted for that budget item.
The same goes for your time.
Spend Your Time on Paper First
The first step is to sit down with a piece of paper, or a spreadsheet and to spend your time for the week.
Here’s how it looks for Michael, and I encourage you to go to the show notes page and see the spreadsheet so you’ll better understand.
Across the top of the sheet are the days of the week and each day or even a couple of days is dedicated to a specific project or demand on your time. Michael calls them “Themes.”
So you’ll see Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc across the top.
Above those days you’ll see the projects. For Michael he puts his blog and podcast (This is Your Life… HIGHLY recommend it!) across Monday and Tuesday.
- Wednesday and Thursday he allocates for Special Projects.
- Friday is where he sets all of his appointments.
- Saturday is reserved for personal stuff
- Sunday is for his Church and family activities.
Planning your Time
Down the left side of the sheet, he has his times of day broken into 30 minute segments. Each row is 30 minutes
He then groups specific amounts of time for different focus areas.
From 5 am to 7:30am Michael sets that aside for Personal Time. You’ll see quiet time listed for the first 30 minutes every single day
You’ll also see exercise every day from 5:30 until 6:30 am.
Reading blogs and books takes up the time from 6:30-7am He even budget for time to show, get dressed and eat from 7:00 – 7:30 am
From 7:30am until 6pm he has WORK We’ll cover this in a moment… just make note.
From 6pm until 9pm he sets up for Family Friends and Planning.
This area also works independent of the projects associated with each day
Almost every day you’ll see 6:00pm to 7:00pm set up as dinner with his wife other than on Tuesday which he has allotted for friends and Saturday which is open time (we’ll get to that).
How the columns and rows interact during the work day from 7:30am until 6pm when Michael focuses on work.
Across every day of the week, Michael spends the first hour processing email. He does this again near the end of the day for an hour and then leaves 30 minutes for planning his next day.
So, we’ve trimmed off the front and back of the work hours and he’s left with 8:30am until 4:30 pm. Because Monday and Tuesday are allocated for Blogging and Podcasting, You’ll find him blogging on Monday’s from 8:30am to 12 noon.
That same time on Tuesday is spend recording his weekly podcasts. The 2nd half of the work hours on both days is spent writing.
The Unscheduled Times
One last area that’s vital to understand is the grey blocks you’ll see Michael leaves in his Time Budget or “Ideal Week.” Just like with your finances, you have to leave some wiggle room for “the unexpected.” If you don’t do this, you’re going to get clobbered the first time the car breaks down and you didn’t set up a savings for that.
So, Michael has most of Saturday left open and a big chunk of Sunday. He also leaves open the evenings on Wednesday and Thursday.
Make sure you leave this time open for the unexpected.
Now You Can Schedule the Specifics.
If you call Michael and want to have him come on your podcast, he’s going to tell you he does that during the day on Wed or Thursday. When can you expect an email reply from Michael? Mon-Fri between 7:30 and 8:30 am or between 4:30 and 5:30pm
Now Michael knows when his allotted time for interviews is taken up for that week. He also knows he’s not going to squeeze into his podcast recording time, causing him to be stressed about getting that done.
It’s the Ideal Week or Time Budget and I’m setting mine up this weekend. If you want to talk about it, let’s connect on Facebook at Facebook.com/PDesmondAdams. I’ll put up a post on it and a link to the example and show notes and we can work it out for ourselves.
Remember, it’s a budget and it might have to “wiggle” but you shouldn’t have to completely destroy it to make your week work. I look forward to seeing how things go for you and I’d love to know if you’re already using something like this.
May Your Reach Extend Beyond Your Grasp,