We all have those moments when we realise that we are no where near where we thought we would be. Those New Year pledges that you were going to smash out are now a distant, faded memory. It’s not your fault, you just didn’t have the time to fit it all in! Sound familiar?
Why is that? I am guessing that for most, the prospect of actually getting kick started on these grand plans seemed just way to big to even contemplate. I mean, there were just too many things getting in the way. Time, well, there is just not enough of it.
You are constantly short of time. You never have time for the things that really matter to you. Just getting your way through that endless to-do list of basic life admin has you swallowed up.
Even worse. Your mind is so full of meaningless little things that you have no space to spark your imagination? You wish that you had the time to think about passion projects, family or goals but really your time is taken thinking about chores, replaying how your work day went, solutions to anxieties. It can leave you feeling frustrated, frazzled and wanting to escape when you realise that you have lost the ability to think straight, and it is a very real problem.
So, how can you stop the endless buzzing in your mind and claim back psychological bandwidth so that you can start to fill your precious time with your passion projects, hustle that side business, goals or gasp… play! Well friend, let me introduce you to a time budget!
Don’t switch off now, before you start to say that you don’t have time for more admin, that this sounds like one more thing on the To-Do list – stop. A time budget is a pretty simple, uncomplicated thing and very much how it sounds and very much worth it.
Start thinking about where you are spending your time just like you would if you would look where you spend your money if you were doing a financial budget. You know that there is a finite amount of time available to you (just like those pesky $$) and a time budget will help you become conscious of where that time is going so you can find your equilibrium and restore balance again.
Here are a few tips on how you can get that time budget started so you can take back your time…
TAKE NOTE: Yep, you guessed it. Write. It. Down. If you aren’t actually aware of where your time is going there is no way you will get it under control. The first thing you need to realise is where your spare time is going. Are you spending mindless time on tasks that you could outsource? What about your travel times? Are you spending time on things you don’t really want to do or are you multi-tasking and failing? Spend a week writing it all down to see where the minutes and hours are going. Don’t over think this, just keep it simple and document as you go.
NON-NEGOTIABLES: Next step, lets work out what are the things that you really need to do, including the time to do it. Start with your fixed time expenses like going to work and sleeping (we all have to do those!). Next priorities what is really important to you. Work out what these are (be realistic here, adding learn a language when you have no intention of doing this will just clutter your mind!). Looking at your priorities, is there anything that you can get someone else to do? Start to plan your time and include:
– Non-Negotiables (E.g. Sleeping – your basic must-do’s)
– Rest & Recharge (E.g. Reading a book – something that calms you)
– Share (E.g. Friends/family – those people that enrich your life)
– Invest (E.g. Hobbies/projects – your passions that fulfil you)
You know from the time that you wake up each morning how much time you have on a daily basis. Work out where you want to spend those hours, allowing time for things out of your control to minimise frazzle!
VISUALISE & ORGANISE: . Remember the saying “Fail to plan, plan to fail” nothing is truer. Work out the best times for you to work out how you want your week to go. This doesn’t need to be a Sunday either, I make sure that I spend my Sunday afternoons and evenings doing something that I love or that excites me to keep my energy up and banish those Monday blues! Work in time to visualise how you see the new week going. Perhaps going for a walk can help you. Make sure you have everything you need (washing and ironing – life admin!). Have your spaces and tools in order so that you can achieve what you have planned ahead. This could be a simple as having your gym bag packed. Being prepared and ready will help you to succeed with that time budget and on the straight and narrow. Remove those barriers.
BECOME A MASTER OF THE FREAKOUT: Freak outs happen. This is the first thing to understand. Becoming overwhelmed because you have run out of time to do something, or noticing that your stress levels are rising because you find yourself on the back foot is out. Letting yourself become consumed by this freakout is not ok though. Instead, stop and write down what your freakout is. All of it. Just start writing down your fears and worries and then plan out your time to address everyone of them when you are able to. You may work out a solution straight away but if not that is also ok – book in the time to work out the solution if it will take longer, this way you can control the angst and unburden yourself, freeing your mind.
BREAKING THE BUDGET: . Ah, the budget failure. Know that as with anything in life you need to know that you cannot control everything and you will sometimes go over budget. That is ok because you have already had wins, no matter how big or small and you can reallocate time if you need to make it up.
So, what do you think? Willing to try out a time budget?