Budgeting is an important skill. It doesn’t just refer to money. You can budget time, food or anything you have in short supply. Weight Watchers says their program is a lifestyle change and it is, but I always think of it as a food budget. Creating a time budget is what I am going to talk about here, though. It’s just one of many time management tools at your disposal. You may find one of the other tools easier, but budgeting my time works for me.
Whatever you are budgeting, you start with what you have available. In the case of time, you have twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, four weeks to a month and so on. You want to make your budget both useful and easy to do. Choose a budgeting unit that is neither too small or two large. You don’t want to choose seconds for your time budget unit. The math would be unwieldy. I use hours. In my time budget, a day is sixteen hours long. I don’t count the time I’m asleep, which is seven to eight hours. That’s why my day is sixteen hours long. Work takes eight hours a day, that brings my available time to eight hours. Now you make a list of what you want to spend your free time doing. Eating, showering, travel time to work, writing, watching tv, whatever you want to do, put it on that list.
Prioritize the list. Note what is more important than what. Is there anything you can do without? Note that down too. Now determine the minimum amount of time you need to complete the task. Once you do that for each task on your list, look at your available time. Try to fit the tasks into the block of time you are looking at. Do that for each task on the list and you will have a budget of time.
That is the method that works for me. Of course, sometimes I find the budget I have worked out doesn’t work due to outside influences, but for the most part it works well. You do the same thing with money or anything else you are budgeting. Simply work out what you have to spend and determine how you want to spend it, then see where you can trim it to make it work for you. Just remember that a budget is a tool, not a requirement. There will be times when you exceed your budget. Don’t sweat it. It happens all the time. A budget will help you accomplish whatever it is that you want to do.