Why You Should Make a Time Budget

Need more money? Follow a budget. Need more time? Do exactly the same thing.

Oddly enough, most people don’t really think of setting a time budget, however logical it may be. But the truth is that everyone could use more time (or perhaps spend the time they do have more wisely). Regardless of whether you’ve got kids, you’re the GM of a large caravan park or do something else entirely, prioritising your time is always worthwhile.

A recent guest on the That Bad Review podcast, April Whiston, is someone who knows this all too well. To use her words, ‘I set out to make myself redundant because I didn’t want to have to take care of every aspect of the business, it was liberating.’ There are plenty of aspects to running a business that just suck a lot of time, and if you never design a system or train a team to carry some of the load, you’re going to struggle to ever be free and happy in business.

April manoeuvred her way out of this trap by empowering others, and she’s taken things a step further by being cognizant of what she referred to as ‘garbage time’. This is the time you spend scrolling through social media, watching pointless TV shows or are otherwise unengaged in something productive. People can be ‘on’ 100% of the time, but it really helps to retain an awareness of where your time is going (and finding ways to maximise your output). Another example of this is April skyping with business coaching clients in the car while she waits for her daughter at school.

April’s thoughts and advice on the topic are undoubtedly useful, but everything is situational and subjective to the individual. In light of that, I’ve cobbled together a few further tips on how to make the most of your time.

Know your biggest time consumers  

First, figure out what’s taking up all your time. Where are those seconds, minutes and hours going? Check in with yourself once a week and jot down an outline or, if you want to be really scientific, start tracking it on a spreadsheet. If you don’t really know where the time is going, you can’t make intentional choices on how to use it.

Cut out distractions  

Once you’ve figured out the time suckers in your budget, it’s time to minimise them. Anyone who works on a computer will know that discipline is needed to stay on task and off of Instagram (unless your business is Instagram). Use the Freedom App or install social media blockers if you need some help screening out the noise.

Make a proper time budget  

Just like with your money, you want to allocate your time as best you can. So, create some sort of structure, be it Pomodoros, sprints, batches or timed work sessions. Or keep things simple and just dedicate yourself to investing a certain amount of time each week in the most critical tasks.

It may all sound quite simple, but the best ideas often are. Give it a try for yourself – and never underestimate the power of awareness and intentionality.

You can check out our entire conversation here.