It's 11:00pm and you are crawling into bed. You are TIRED! But as you lay in bed and ask yourself what you did today to be so tired, your mind comes up blank. The house is still a mess. School only got about half done. The to-do list for that day isn't even 50% complete. Yet, you were busy all day. Can you relate? I sure can! Or perhaps I should say I sure could. That is before I discovered the transformative power of time budgeting my day.
Dave Ramsey, who is a personal money management expert, taught me something about budgeting finances. But what he taught me I have also applied to budgeting time. He frequently asks the question, "How different would your life look if you could tell your money where to go every month instead of wondering where it went?" His budgeting philosophy is called zero-based budgeting. Basically this means budgeting every single dollar of your income every month so you are determining exactly where your money goes, instead of looking back at the end of the month and wondering where it went.
Now let me ask you Dave's question but in regard to time. How different would your life look if you could tell your time where to go every day instead of wondering where it went? I can tell you that your productivity will increase, your self-satisfaction will increase, and your overall contentment will increase. Why? Because you are budgeting your time according to what you deem important and you are actually getting it done! I guarantee you will no longer get into bed and draw blanks on what you actually got accomplished that day.
So what does time budgeting really look like? To begin time budgeting for today, you actually have to start last night. Take about 10 minutes each night before bed and time budget for the next day. On a side note, this will likely help you sleep better because you won't be thinking about everything you need to do the next day and wondering how you will fit it all in!
First step is to quickly brainstorm everything you need to do the next day. Groceries? Ballet class? Homeschool? Cooking? Cleaning?
Second step is to take those items and begin budgeting how much time they will take and when you will do them during the day.
Here is an example of my time budget:
7:00-7:30 TAG (Time Alone with God)
7:30-8:00 Make hubby's breakfast and lunch
8:00-9:00 Breakfast with kids and shower
9:00-9:30 Worship with kids
11:30-12:30 Lunch and clean up
12:30-1:00 Piano practicing
2:00-3:30 Personal work time (kids do chores, free play when done)
5:00-6:30 Supper and clean up
6:30-7:00 House work
7:00-8:00 Family time
8:00-9:00 Kids shower, bedtime routine (stories, etc.) and go to bed
9:00-10:00 Time with hubby, time budgeting, and bed
Obviously your day is going to look different from mine, but notice that every minute of the day is budgeted. I know exactly what I'm doing and when I'm doing it. There is no more opportunity to waste time browsing the Internet aimlessly and there is definitely no question in my mind at the end of the day of what I did.
I don't know if you can relate to the struggle of getting out of bed "on time". But if you can, time budgeting will also help you get out of bed in the morning! Without time budgeting it is easy to sleep in because you don't have a set reason to get up "on time". But when you time budget you know exactly what time you need to get up in order to accomplish the days activities and you will likely find this to be motivating. I know I do!
Another benefit of time budgeting is that it really helps you to be more realistic about what you can actually get accomplished in a day. Over time it will help you realize if you are saying yes to to many things. The next time your local homeschool co-op asks you to run a program it will be easier for you to determine if you actually have time to take that project on or not. If you're days are already full and there is nothing you can cut, than the answer needs to be no!
One last note - whether you like pen and paper or a device, write down your time budget. It isn't enough to just plan it out in your head. When we write things down they become more concrete and you will be more likely to follow through.
Take 10 minutes tonight and budget your time for tomorrow. I guarantee you will notice a difference in your productivity, your self-satisfaction, and contentment from the very first day you do this! Momma, you don't need to settle for continually feeling overwhelmed and under accomplished. Make this change today and be in awe of the transformation. You can do this!