We all know there are 24 hours a day and 168 weekly, but let me ask you a question.
Are you spending that time with intention?
In our busy modern lives, it can be easy to lose track of where our time goes, so I will introduce you to an exercise to help you align your schedule with your values. I’ve done this myself, and it’s so helpful in designing your ideal week, allowing you to prioritise the things that matter most to you.
So, let me ask you, what would you do if you wanted to spend your money more wisely? You would build a budget. Money is a precious resource. It’s important to spend it with intention, but time’s an even more precious, more limited resource in our lives.
So, what should you do if you want to spend your time more wisely? You got it. Build a time budget. Don’t worry. It’s simple to do; just follow these 3 easy steps.
Track your time for an entire week, don’t change anything. Just maintain a record of your activities. I know this might sound time-consuming, but I promise it’s time well spent in the long run. If you slept 7 hours, write that down. Did you do some exercise, record that, make the bed, wash, walk the dog, grab a coffee, and hang out with friends? Note the hours spent at work. The more detailed or specific, the better.
At the end of the day, the goal is to find patterns and understand what you are spending your most precious resource doing.
Review, audit, and categorise how you spend time with family, friends, sleep, and work. Whatever it may be, tally which categories are getting the most attention. You’ll soon see where you need or want to make changes, where you could save time, and what activities are a waste of your time.
The way you spend your time should reflect your values. Do you care about your fitness but regularly skip exercise to stay late at work? Do you consider family your biggest priority, but they’re actually getting less time from you than you’d like? You will likely notice’ notice’ time confetti” if you track your time. These are those small chunks of time, 15 minutes on Instagram, time procrastinating, the things that prevent us from devoting larger blocks of time to more important things.
Make adjustments and create your time budget. Quite often, there are simple things you can change, like going to bed half an hour earlier if you are not getting enough sleep. Setting some boundaries at work limits social media to 30 minutes daily. Add non-negotiables, like an hour each morning, to exercise and stick to it. Make it a routine; it will soon become a habit, and you’ll start missing it if you skip it.
Once you’ve got an idea of how you want your day or week to look like decide whether you have the discipline to enact the adjustments on your own or if you need sustenance.
Modern technology provides a suite of tools to keep us on track, but an analogue device like a planner can be just as effective, reduces screen time and never runs out of battery!
You can use a planner or diary to time block your week to plan out blocks of time to do certain activities.
If screen time looks like an issue, impose a screen time alarm or team up with an accountability partner to do exercise with. Whatever your goals, there will be a way of fitting them in. As Sean Covey said, ”Saying yes to something means saying no to something else,” so be aware of what you are saying yes to or allowing in your schedule.
Remember, habits can be hard to shape. You may need to ease into your changes, and that’s OK, even if it’s one at a time. That is a positive move to using your time with more intention.
This exercise aims to become more aware of how you spend your time and more conscientious going forward, so do whatever you can to stay within the budget because you can’t get time back once it’s spent.