Time Budget: Easy to Drop

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A while ago, I talked about the idea of budgeting time like I do money–and I promised to let you know how it went.

In short, it flopped in record time.

Time is actually not like money at all. When we spend money, we know it–our purchase or bill is going to show up on our bank statement, and we have a chance to record it. Time, on the other hand, continues to go by no matter how frugal you are.

For example, whenever I sat down to work on my time budget, I was spending time, even though I was trying to save my time. All of my other activities counted, too–meaning that if I did anything, I’d have to record it. Actually, even if I did nothing, I had to record it.

It was also startling how quickly I would run out of the time set aside for relaxing and enjoying life, or with my family. Knowing that I had used it all up for the week and had to spend the rest working didn’t encourage me–it just meant that I only had more work to look forward to.

Even if I wanted to rearrange my budget mid-week in order to work around unexpected events, that just took more time and effort–and drained my attention away from the very things I wanted to make room for.

There’s probably a strategy out there that will work even for someone as easily-distracted as me. But, it looks like a time budget is not the right path.

Any suggestions for the next method I might try? I’m open to suggestions, and I’ll mention you next time if I use yours. Thanks in advance!

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5 thoughts on “Time Budget: Easy to Drop

  1. OH HI PHIL. I did NOT KNOW you had a website like this again.
    When I went on furlough from the job, I actually kept track of how much I worked a day. I only kept track of work, though, with a goal for four hours of writing, two hours of reading, an hour of other work, and maybe another hour of something else. You know, 8 hours.
    That became more like 1 to 2 hours of writing, 1 hour of reading, and no hours of other things. Well, sometimes other things, but not usually what I intended. Eventually I stopped keeping track completely. It actually worked pretty well for a while, but I think the main reason I stopped keeping track was that it was difficult to do so if I didn’t do a long string of work in one go–I’d have ten or more things on the list of just 15 or so minutes each and that got annoying to write down, as you found. I tend to work better doing a little at a time and then taking a break to just think or pseudo-nap, so it didn’t work too well.
    At this point I just make a list of all the things I want to get done today. Then I fail that list. Still, I try to keep the same rate of work on the list for each day and get stuff I’m behind on done, and on days when I happen to be more productive I can get it done. I’m also incredibly loose with what day I do things, so it’s more like a to-do list, but for daily work I at least know when I want to be on things. It only works when I put enough time aside for something, though, so it slightly falls apart when I set aside one day for something that ends up taking three. whoops

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, I wasn’t really sharing this blog until I was sure that I would keep up with using it, which basically came to about a week ago.

      I probably should have asked you for advice in the first place, since you definitely have experience with these struggles. I’ve tried a loose to-do list like that but I don’t really remember why I didn’t like it. That probably means it would be worth looking into again after all this time. Thanks!

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  2. I don’t think there is an easy fix or even a time recipe that anyone can give you. Sorry, I know that isn’t what you wanted to hear. The thing about making a time budget is you essentially waste time making it, and you waste time updating it. Life my friend.. cannot be put on a schedule completely.

    The thought of giving myself a limited amount of time to spend with friends/family or relaxing would actually stress me out more than the idea that my life was (shudder) organized tbh! Like you said, you end up using that time and have nothing but work to look forward to.

    When I sit here and realize I have wasted half my day doing nothing. OK, not nothing.. but nothing of importance, I often have the same thought as you. I should really schedule this crap out! I tried it and it was a disaster. Beyond a disaster. I thought I needed to fill each section of the day and I ended up with so much on the list that I didn’t do anything. Nothing. My next thought was OK, I’ll slow it down. I mean really I don’t want to wake up at 7AM just to meditate so why am I? Because it is on a list? Screw that list!

    Now I basically start my day by doing what I know needs done. Through the week that would be making something to eat for me and the man, spending time with him, and getting him off to work. After that I make a simple list of things I want/need to get done (usually before he gets home from work). I schedule in anything that *has* to be done at a certain time and the rest gets done as I get to it.

    I do wonder what the biggest issue was that made you want to tryout this time budget? Is there a particular area of your life that you feel you are not spending enough time on? If so I’d say start allowing a bit more time for that and the rest will work itself out. Either way, I’m glad you tried your idea out.

    Sorry for the crazy long comment. :p

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, I enjoy the crazy long comments. It actually gives me the feeling that this is a conversation and not me sitting here throwing posts at a wall!

      Your experience with all this sounds eerily similar to mine, haha. It’s interesting that you ended up using a simpler list system–kind of the same as what Duth said. All the more reason to try it, I suppose!

      I’ll try to explain as well as I can why I felt I needed a system. Basically, I have a job right now and I don’t mind it one bit, but the things I’m really passionate about are what I try to accomplish outside of work. Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to watch Netflix, play games and cuddle with my fiance all day than to put even as much as one hour of effort in. Then, when I go to bed, I often feel bad that I didn’t really do anything that day.

      My response wasn’t as long as your comment but I feel like I still had a lot to say, haha. Maybe I have the next post topic on my hands?

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