Where you invest your time is where you invest your life. You know what you have even less of than money? Time. Time is finite and it is very difficult to replicate or multiply it. Once that hour is gone it’s gone. You’re not getting it back. So,you need to budget time to make sure that you are investing your time wisely. This means that you are investing your time in the things that are going to move you forward in life and help you to be the woman and mom that you want to be. One of the best ways to do this is to create a time budget. Just like a money budget a time budget can help you to make sure that you are spending your time in the right places.
Step 1 to Create a Time Budget: Calculate Your Expenses
Just like with a money budget where you first have to figure out where you are spending your money, you need to calculate where you’re spending your time. Go ahead and open up a Google calendar or the cozi app or Outlook, whatever calendar you’re using, and take a moment to fill-in where of you spent your time in the last week. Be as detailed as possible.
Then, starting today track regularly for the next week or two where you’re spending your time.
Where do you spend your time?
What time do you wake up?
How long does it take you until you get out the door each morning?
What are you doing before you get out the door ?
Do you do drop off? If so, how long does that take?
How long is your commute?
What hours are you actually at work?
Do you take a lunch break? What do you do on your lunch break?
How about after work. Do you run errands or do anything else?
What time you get home from work?
What do you do in the evenings?
Fill it all in. It’s annoying but will be well worth the pain once you are able to focus your time on what’s most important. Thankfully, you only have to do this once if you keep up with the budget you create.
Once you have recorded where you spent your time over the past couple go ahead and fill in what a full month looks like. Add in the things that you do socially or irregularly so that you can see where you’re actually spending all your time.
Step 2 To Create a Time Budget: Identify your Mandatory and Discretionary Spend
Now that you understand where you’re spending your time, mark each time block with an “M” for mandatory or a “D” for discretionary.
Mandatory activities are the things you must to do to take care of yourself and your family, to keep food on the table and a roof over your head.
Discretionary activities are everything else. The things are not essential to living. Please note that self-care, play time with the kids and family bonding times should all be considered mandatory.
Be very honest with yourself as your fill this in.
Step 3 To Create a Time Budget : Review your Mandatory Spend
Take a look at the mandatory areas where you spend your time. This is your basic time budget. These are things you have to do. How much of your life is dedicated to just keeping the lights on the kids alive and food on the table? Examine these areas and see if there’s any way that you think you can be more efficient if not don’t worry about it. The next thing to do is to focus on the discretionary time.
Step 4 To Create A Time Budget: Calculate Your Discretionary Time
First, calculate how much free time you have. To do this:
- Add up all of the hours in each week that you are spending on mandatory things.
- Subtract that from 168. 168 is how many hours there are in each week.
- Make sure that you included sleep in your mandatory hours. If it’s six hours, eight hours or nine hours (ha ha)
Now, what you have left is your discretionary time. This is the time that you have each week to do other things.
Step 5 To Create A Time Budget: Allocate Your Discretionary Time
Now, take some time to think about where your time should be going. Maybe, you have 20 hours left in the week for things that are not life essentials . Where do you think you should be spending that time?
You should have included self-care in your mandatory time. If you have not included self-care in your basics go ahead and subtract out another 3.5 hours (that’s an average of 30 minutes per day for taking care of you mind, body and soul).
Now, that you have your discretionary time number where do you think that time should be going?
Do you have hobbies or friends or family that you want to dedicate that to?
Are there activities for your kids?
Do you have a work events?
Do you have a side hustle that you want to grow?
Think about where you can spend you time so that your life feels full and rich. Where can you spend your time to get the most out of life? Now, write down where you think you should be spending that time. Then, add how much of your extra time should be going to the various activities. For example if you’re really trying to grow your side hustle, maybe 50%( or 10 hours out of 20) of your discretionary time should be going to that work. If you’re in a season where you want to bond more deeply with your children or create even more special moments in your family’s life maybe 60 or 70% of your discretionary time should go to family time. You think about it and then go ahead and mark where you think that time should be going.
Areas Where Your Might Spend Your Discretionary Time
To help you out, here are a few areas can consider:
- Relationships (Friends and Extended Family)
- Family (Immediate Family)
- Personal Development
Your Time Budget
Now, write out, how many hours you spend on mandatory things and how many you want to spend on each discretionary area. Voila, you have a time budget.
Align Your Time Budget
Now, take a moment to look at where you are actually spending your time. How does that align with where you think you should be spending your time? Are you spending it on things that are driving you forward in life? Does your time go towards things you want to do? Are you spending it on things that other people want you to do? Take some stock of where that time is actually going.
Is your time going to the areas that help you have a full and rich life? If it’s going to something else how can you re-allocate the hours that you have each week to go more towards the areas where you believe you should be spending your time?
Create A Schedule
Now, take a look at the first week of next month. Create a schedule for that week which mimics what you believe your schedule should be like based on where you want to spend your time. How different is that from where you are actually spending your time? Can you make that ideal schedule work? Fill in the rest of the month with your ideal scheduled. Can you make that work?
Ensure Time to Splurge
Just like with a money budget where are you set aside a little bit of money for fun. You should ensure that you sent aside a bit of time for you to have fun as well. This is for the extras. Make sure that you’re taking time to do fun and exciting things each week.
Take Action on Your Time Budget
Take action on your time budget. First review your new calendar against your time budget. Are all of the activities either mandatory or things that support you in creating a life you love? There should be no in between. If there is anything on there that feels wrong or you’re doing it just because, give yourself that time back. Invest that time in you.
Cancel meetings and appointments that do not align with your time budget. You wouldn’t waste your money on something you don’t really want, right? So why waste your time? Now, book meetings and appointments that align with your time budget.
Just like with a money budget sticking to your time budget can be challenging at times. In the end the reward of wisely investing your time will be so worth it.
If you go through this exercise and find you are trying having trouble finding time to do it all, this article on how to do it all as a mom will help.