Budget Your Time and Get More Things Done

time is money Editor’s note: this is a guest post by Mark Woods, author of Attack Your Day! Before It Attacks You.

Imagine there is a bank that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day and every evening deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day.

What would you do? Draw out every cent of course and figure out how to spend it later! Well we do have such a bank; its name is the bank of time. Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off as lost, whatever you failed to invest to good purpose. How much time do you write off at the end of the day? Do you know?

Planning in advance will help you determine what you’ll do next as you arrange the order for accomplishing the activities on your list. The challenge is that our most important resource—our time—is limited.

Try This:

Think of time as space. Time is the space in which we live. Just as a box is a space we fill with goods, an hour is a “time box” we fill with activities. Looking at time as space makes it easier to manage.

When we begin to look at an hour as a space in which we will execute activities, we are forced to be more realistic when we plan and budget our time. Where do your 24 hours go?

  1. List your typical daily activities both work and personal on a sheet of paper. Include your sleep time, exercise, family, meals, cleaning, work, etc.
  2. Next, write down how much time you spend on each activity. Total the time; it should be equal to 24 hours.
  3. Create a daily time budget that works for you.

Tips When Making a Time Budget:

  • Plan at least two hours for “interruptions.” Interruptions are the one thing we can count on happening every day. 
  • Make sleep time a priority. You will be more productive if you get at least seven hours of sleep.
  • Just say “no.” When you have a time budget it’s easier to stop over-committing.

Time is your most precious commodity. Invest it wisely.

[photo by stevendepolo]

Mark Woods is an expert in time management training and author of the book “Attack Your Day! Before It Attacks You

2 thoughts on “Budget Your Time and Get More Things Done

  1. Good suggestions. Of course, the trick is to budget the things that are most important to us appropriately. Example: I want to finish my novel. I can squeeze in time here and there throughout my day, writing a few paragraphs in the morning, a few sentences after lunch, etc., ad nauseam – or I can budget a block of time first thing in the morning when I know I’m at my most creative (i.e., before my brain really wakes up and gets cynical). Budgeting it first, and during the time of day most likely to be productive, reinforces the concept that this project – the book – is my priority.

    1. You’re right Annie, budgeting your time requires a disciplined approach in order to get the important things done first. Great comment!

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