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Budgeting Your Time: Is It Worth It?

This is a guest post from Aaron Morris, also known as Sir Scrapalot.

About two weeks ago, I read an interesting article on Michael Hyatt’s blog about creating a schedule for your “Ideal Week” and letting that guide your schedule for the week. I was intrigued by this idea. If I took the time to create a schedule for an “ideal week” could that help me become more productive in my day to day experiences? I liked how the example schedule was divided into themes, one per day. I’ve often tried to group like tasks by day, so maybe this would help get that really going. I decided to give the schedule a shot.

So I downloaded the example, and used that to base mine off of. It wasn’t long before I was expertly “scheduling” my week. In my schedule, I left off Saturday and Sunday because as a family, we often don’t have a set schedule for those days. It took me about an hour to get it all sorted out and entered into the Excel workbook. This is what it looked like when I was done.

The first thing I noticed, is there is a lot of repetition. My week is pretty straight forward, there isn’t many opportunities for other things to happen. I guess I lead a boring life. Nevertheless, I tried to put it into action. For a week, I made every attempt to follow this schedule. I can tell you, with the exception of school, I almost never actually did what was on the schedule. Life got in the way, and when I wasn’t on schedule, I was stressing about getting back on schedule. By the end of the week, I knew this wasn’t working for me.

There are a few things I would like to take from the experience. First, budgeting my time was a good idea. I liked being able to see where I spent my time, and where I could possibly gain more time. For example, the time after school on Mondays and Fridays always is wasted do nothing time, but when you look at it, it’s a full hour and half. Surely there is more I can get done in that time. Second, I like the idea of having “themes” for each day. Having a certain “theme” of what I am going to get done for the day helps me focus my energy and appropriately create a to do list for the day. Third, I need to make sure I am working during scheduled times. It’s so easy to pick up a half hour here or there during times when I should be doing other things. I need to get better at making sure I am setting “work times’ and sticking to them.

All things considered, this exercise wasn’t a total waste. While I have no intention of living my life according to the scheduled I made up, I did learn a few things about how I use my time and how I can better manage myself and my activities. I encourage you to try this activity…you may or may not love living by the schedule, but you are sure to learn something about your use of time!

Have you tried budgeting your time before? Did it work?

3 Responses to Budgeting Your Time: Is It Worth It?

  1. Natasha April 20, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    I have also tried creating a schedule of an ideal week and it ended up forgotten under a stack of papers in less than a week. Mine was also a bit repetitive and probably a bit too detailed. I liked the idea of it because it seemed like a sure-fire way to be ultra-productive. But what I didn’t leave room for in the schedule was the unexpected…I did learn to be a little more realistic about my expectations for myself.

  2. Nat April 20, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    In the past, I’ve had good intentions of doing something similar. I always end up not meeting the schedule for some reason or another.

    I’ve recently decided to try something more simple. Like you, my day times are pretty much the same thing. I was getting frustrated that I always seemed to not have enough time to craft, blog, and scrapbook in the evenings. I’ve started assigning different days of the week to different things. I work on my blog on Mondays and only my blog. Even if I’m “ahead” I still work on the next part. It really helps not feeling stressed when I’m scrapbooking about whether I should be devoting more time to something else.

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