Most people know that they should budget their money, but what about their time? Time is the one thing money cannot buy. Although we are given 1,440 minutes each day, we always seem to need more! As a mom who works outside the home, I feel like I’m always lacking time. There never seems to be enough time to finish everything at work, pick everyone up, cook a decent dinner, and spend an evening free from distractions with my family. Not to mention spending the time to take care of myself! Please tell me that I’m not alone and that you can relate!
The truth is that life can be a juggling act. That’s why it’s so important to budget your time correctly. There are a thousand different things calling for your attention. If you don’t have your time prioritized and budgeted, then you will give attention to the things that don’t matter and miss out on the things that do. If you feel like you’re being pulled in too many directions, then now is the time to take an in depth look at your priorities and make some changes for you and your family.
Grab a piece of paper or pull out your phone and write down the top 5 things that are most important to you in this world. Don’t skip over this part! It’s very important and lays the foundation for your time budget. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Now put them in order of most important to least important. An example list would be:
Now I’m going to be completely and 100% honest with you. I am not a perfect person and I don’t always prioritize well at all. Sometimes my list is all jumbled and number 5 is on top where it doesn’t belong. I go through seasons where I cannot seem to get my act together and get my priorities straight. Other times I am focused and have a clear mind on where my priorities lie. The good news is that if you order your priorities from most important to least important, then you can always take time to reflect on if you are honoring your goal.
Identify the Distractions
Now that you know what is most important to you, identify the distractions that you face. What else is vying for your time that is unnecessary? What do you feel is taking you away from the top 5 priorities that you wrote down? Sometimes there are distractions within our top 5 priorities that disguise themselves as important. For instance, not everything that you might face at work is a priority. Spending time gossiping at work is a distraction that keeps you from being efficient in your job. Perfectionism in the workplace is also a distraction that will eat up your time and energy. These are perfect examples of distractions within your priorities. I know that I cannot volunteer for every committee or activity that is available at my work. I have to limit my participation to not only what brings me happiness, but to where I know I can share my talents and strengths. Write down all of your distractions even if they are small ones.
Now that you’ve identified distractions, figure out everything that you can say no to. If it’s not one of your top 5 priorities or it is a negative distraction within your top 5, it’s time to remove it from your life. If you feel uncomfortable saying no, then find a way to decline nicely. One of my favorites is “My heart says yes, but my calendar says no.” This shows that although you would like to participate, you don’t have enough time.
Prioritize Your Week
Every Sunday night, look at your calendar and tasks for the week. Set goals for what you want to accomplish and how you plan to make it happen. If your goal is to prioritize your health, then make a schedule of when you plan to exercise that week. Don’t just write down that you plan to work out, but also write down when you plan to exercise and what type of exercise you want to do. If you plan to save money and skip out on restaurants, then sit down and make a meal plan for your dinners. If you take a look at your week every Sunday night, it helps give you focus and clarity throughout the days ahead.
Ultimately, remember that every person out there also struggles with budgeting their time. There will be moments when you feel like you are honoring your time and giving your attention to your top 5 priorities, but there will also be times when you aren’t. The good news is that if you are aware of your priorities and you are reflecting on them weekly, that you can easily turn your time around and focus on what matters most.