We chat a lot about budgets over here at Budget Blonde. Emergency funds, student loans, credit cards – you name it, we’ve discussed it. Yet, one thing we don’t talk about that much is budgeting time.
It’s a common problem these days. People have so many commitments and no time to do the things they really want to do. So I’m here to share how to gain some precious hours back and in the process, find some peace in your life.
I’d like to preface these tips by saying that I have a full time job. In addition to that, I spend about 20-25 hours a week on freelance writing projects and this blog. So, these tips are not coming from someone who has all the time in the world to begin with. In fact, it’s actually hard for others to understand that I choose to work like this because I absolutely love it. However, I think the reason that I love what I do is because I’ve found a way to work and still have time to do the things I want.
Here are some tips on how to find some extra hours regardless of how crazy your schedule is:
1. Know yourself first.
My experience living in Grenada has given me lots of time to be introspective. I’ve spent many hours figuring out what works for me. I’ve learned that in order to be happy, I have to get something accomplished during the day. In fact, if I lounge all day and don’t get out of my pajamas, I feel like my day was a total waste. So, if I spend all morning Saturday sitting on the front porch, looking at the water, and turning in 9 blog posts to a client, I am happy. However, you might only be happy if you get to spend your Saturday morning baking, taking a nap, spending time with your friends, etc. You have to know yourself before you know how to allocate your time best. For me, I need to get something accomplished before I allow myself a drink with friends or a date out to the movies.
2. Turn off the TV.
I cannot think of a bigger time suck that TV. We haven’t had one in our home in almost 2 years. When the hubs and I first got married, we ate dinner in front of the TV and then just sat there for a while and flipped through channels like zombies. I think we were exhausted or maybe it was just a good excuse not to think about the day. The TV allowed us time to veg and zone out. Yet, when I cancelled the TV to save a little moolah, I found myself with so much time on my hands. That’s when I really got motivated and started to write a lot more.
3. Don’t hang out with people you don’t like.
Sounds harsh, but it’s true. Why are you wasting your time going to that book club meeting or that dinner with your friend’s wife when you really don’t want to go? Life is short, peeps. Spend your precious time with the people you love most.
4. Don’t overload yourself.
We’d all have a lot more time if we stopped having so many darn things to do. You want to paint every room in your house, take that trip to the mountains, get a promotion, bake cookies for your kid’s class, and write a book all while trying to be a good spouse, child, or parent. Peeps, it’s just too much. Only do what you actually like to do. And, more importantly, give yourself ample time to do it. Pick one small thing to do each day or each weekend, and mark on your calendar when you’d like it to be finished. Forget about doing things quickly or immediately. We all want instant gratification, but the best things come when you enjoy the journey.
While I can’t say I am perfect when it comes to any of these things, I’ve made the transition to taking things a bit slower. Call it being an island girl or whatever you like, but I can say with certainty that despite my busy work schedule, I feel more relaxed and more calm than I have ever felt.
What do you do to budget your time? What do you wish you could improve upon? (For example, I wish I could wake up earlier and gain another hour, but I am such a night owl!)