Budget Your Time

How many of you get to the end of the day and wonder where the day went? Somehow you spent 8 (or 10 or 12) hours in the office and not one thing came off your to do list. As CPAs we tend to have a financial mindset, so I am going to take some financial quotes from one of my favorite authors on money, Dave Ramsey, and point out how we should apply them to time.

“A budget is people telling their money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”

As CPAs we talk about and deal with budgets constantly, so why don’t we do that with our time. I’m not talking about just scheduling meetings, but also scheduling time to work on projects, develop our skills, give back to the community and spend time with those we love. To do lists are a baby step in time budgeting, but if you don’t actually schedule time to work on them, then more often than you like, to do items won’t get done. Try budgeting your time for the next day at the end of the previous day for a few weeks and see if you suddenly start accomplishing things.

“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have in order to impress people we don’t like.”

The time version of this is “we agree to do things we don’t want to do with time we don’t have in order to impress people we don’t care about.” While we can’t necessarily say no to the boss, maybe we can some of the time. And if they won’t take no for an answer, there is always the option to telling them no by leaving for another job. I also bet if you look at your actual time usage, it’s not the things your boss is asking for that are the real time wasters. They are probably other things that you really could have said no to. In my case it was refereeing soccer on Sundays. I felt guilty about saying no to the assigners, but then I realized I was only hurting myself by taking time away from my family. I started saying no and I was much happier.

“Winning at money is 80 percent behavior and 20 percent head knowledge.”

Face it, we all “know” many ways to be more efficient with our time, but we don’t do them because it requires us to change. Change requires great amounts of will power which quickly exhausts us and we fall back into the same old habits. So quit thinking you need to learn a new miracle way to make better use of your time and simply start doing it. Make one or two changes and stick to them for several weeks until they become your new “old” habit. Then pick another couple. By the end of the year you might be shocked at what you changed.

In summation Dave Ramsey says, “You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.” Just change it to “You must gain control over your time or the lack of it will forever control you” and let that sink it to start that drive to make change.

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