“Like sands through the hourglass – so are the days of our lives”
Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’/into the future
It’s something unpredictable/but in the end it’s right/I hope you had the time of your life
Time is something we all talk about. We find references all over pop culture, like in the opening music of the Days of Our Lives soap opera or the lyrics to a favorite tune by The Steve Miller Band or Green Day. It seems like there are never enough hours in the day to meet the demands of all that is going on in our lives – work, home, volunteer commitments, extended family. But it is really that we don’t have enough time or is it that we are not prioritizing the time we have?
In late July I attended the Launch Out Conference in St. Louis. In two separate presentations the speakers addressed the lack of time we all appear to have in our lives. Notice I said appear. In the presentations, the speakers were quick to challenge the notion of lack of time and suggested creating a time budget to account for every hour of every day – zero based time budgeting. They said we would be amazed to find out all the time we were wasting in our day.
But I’m sure you are wondering – what does this have to do with personal finance? It has everything to do with personal finance. Time is money. Yes, this old adage does ring true. When we let our time slip through our fingers, there is no way to get it back. If you want to make extra money with a part-time job, wasting time can cost you your dream of becoming debt free. If you want to work out to maintain your health, wasting time could cost you thousands of dollars later when you have to deal with poor health at a later age. If you want to take extra classes or attend networking events to further your career, wasting time could cost you important promotions and career connections.
So how do you go about creating a time budget? I first laid out all of the activities that I do on a daily basis – work time, getting ready in the morning and getting ready for sleep, eating and sleeping. I blocked off those times in my calendar in my phone as appointments. Then I scheduled other activities that I deemed important throughout my week – workout time, weekly errands, household chores. The rest became open season on what was to be scheduled in those other hours.
I was stunned to learn that I was not only able to schedule in all of the work that I wanted to get done but I was also able to schedule in plenty of downtime. The first week I used this time budget was one of the most productive weeks I have had in a long time and I felt completely rested and recharged to take on more. I was actually able to accomplish more simply by planning out my time. This made me wonder: what happened to all of the hours I had been wasting? Probably being sucked up by social media, TV and Candy Crush.
I plan to continue creating time budgets along with my financial budgets because I challenge you to track your time – just as you would your finances – and see where you have time leaks. You may find out you have a lot more time than you think.