Budgeting for Time AND Money

It’s been said that “Time is Money,” and in truth, researchers have spent a lot of valuable time trying to empirically prove that time is, in fact, money. How many times have you heard these sayings?

  • We need to buy some more time for this assignment.
  • I can’t afford to spend any more time on this!
  • It was worth waiting for!
  • This is wasting my precious time!

I’ll leave it to the linguists and the philosophers to sort out the question and what it says about our society when these “time” and “money” words are so interconnected, but it’s interesting to think about.

It came to mind for me when I was faced with the (very) challenging task of trying to schedule all of the back-to-school activities that are coming up in the next two weeks around all of the events and obligations that were already on the calendar.

I was writing everything down – that’s just how I roll – and realized that I had created a document that looked very much like the spreadsheet we use for our budget.

And it occurred to me: how many of us really treat our time the same way we treat (or are supposed to treat) our money? Most of us have no problem throwing time away. Most of us would never do that with our money.

Practically speaking, we have to budget our time the same way we budget our money. You probably do that already when you have to get something done for work or pay a bill—but that stuff is no fun.

You should learn to do that for the fun stuff, too.

Just divide your time budget into the things you need to spend your time on and the things you want to spend your time on. Decide what you need to do and get it done, but plan for what you want to do as well. For example:

We need time to:

  • Work
  • Eat
  • Sleep
  • Spend with our families

Just like you need to pay your mortgage, these are the places where you need to spend your time. These needs just seem to force themselves into your schedule, so you do them. Conversely:

We want time to:

  • Read a book
  • Go for a walk
  • Go to the gym
  • Take a nap

This is the fun stuff. Some people may think your idea of fun is a waste of time, but it’s your time, so do what you like. Just plan for it, and the things you want to do will fit right in.

Time and money both are valuable. Both can be invested. Both can be spent.
You can always make more money, but you can’t make more time, so use yours wisely.

As for me, for the next two weeks, I’ll be at one school or I’ll be at the other school, but wherever I am, I’ll be spending my precious time doing just the things I want to do (and everything else, too).


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