I have never thought about time as of something I need to budget. I was (and still am) always good at time management – planning and prioritising time. Some of my friends and colleagues even ask me to share my knowledge. They are adapting my time management approach to their lifestyles successfully.
I have first learned about time management as about professional tool, and I primarily used it for school/work. Becoming advanced at planning and organising, it was natural that it influenced my private life, too, however, it was not the intention. It was simply impossible to be proficient in planning and prioritising at work without applying the same to my life. My character wouldn’t allow me to struggle privately with what I excel at professionally. And I always wanted to excel at everything I do.
I have applied my planning and prioritising skills to the list of tasks I was assigned to do, arranging my time most efficiently. I have learned that the more you plan, the easier it gets to find time for some assignments and projects. I have developed a bullet-proof time management system that helps me to be always on top of my task list. What could be wrong with that?
The basic premise.
What I was doing was managing my workload — organising my professional routine to deal with more projects without losing track or missing deadline. And I excelled at it.
Recently I looked at what I do with a critical eye to see how can I re-focus. I wanted to devote more time to my entrepreneurial goals. And I figured out that I have planned my activities so tightly that I hardly have any time to spend on ideas about my possible entrepreneurial future. Not to mention the time to do something in this regard. Ouch.
As with everything in my life, when in doubt, I turn to books (or go to sleep, but it would not help here, I suppose :)). So I grabbed one of my all-time favourites, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and got lost. Until my problem spoke to me by the mouth of Mrs Eliza Reed:
Take one day; share it into sections; to each section apportion its task: leave no stray unemployed quarters of an hour, ten minutes, five minutes – include all; do each piece of business in its turn with method, with rigid regularity.
And this is when I thought about time budgeting. The idea is not new – I was able to find a lot of various suggestions on the Internet when I decided to google the topic. However, for some reason, it has escaped my attention for so long.
Instead of looking at the shedloads of tasks you have in front of you and try to manage them, you should look at the hours you have available. Part of your time you should undoubtedly dedicate to working. Another part – to sleep. You have to plan time to enjoy food and to take a shower, to working out and to spend with friends and family. But you should not fail to budget some time for yourself. Not only to pamper yourself and let you sleep longer, but also to work towards your dreams.
Considering there are only 24 hours in a day you’d have to think carefully about how much time you might want to spend on different activities. Especially if you are like me who does not feel comfortable sleeping less than full 8 hours.
Once you have done that, you can continue planning and prioritising. But you should be able to subordinate anything you decide to do into one of the time budget categories you have. And if it doesn’t fit in – you better not do it. Because, however you try, you don’t get more than 24 hours a day.