When you think of budgeting, money isn’t the only resource that should come to mind. In personal finance, time is every bit as important as money, but only you can place an accurate value on it. The financial equivalent of an hour of your time is determined by how wisely you spend it – the more you plan your time and allocate it to productive activities, the more it’s worth. So if you’re looking to squeeze more value out of each hour in your day, try some of these tips to keep you aware of the way you spend your time – and help you spend your time wisely.
Stay Goal-Oriented Every Day
No matter what your work situation is like, you can take five minutes each morning to list your daily goals. Whether you’re self-employed or doing the bidding of your boss, it’s helpful to determine what you need to do for the day ahead of time. Once you’ve listed at least three goals, number them in terms of priority so you’ll know where to start. This will help you avoid wasting time thinking about what to do next and will keep you focused on the important things you need to accomplish.
Don’t Lose Sight of Your Own Needs
It’s impossible to be 100% efficient, so give yourself a break every once in a while. You’re a person with individual needs, and no one knows what those needs are better than you do. Make a list of what you need on a daily basis, such as a lunch break, a few shorter breaks throughout the day, a cup of tea, a little music, or a few minutes to chat with coworkers or friends. Now, go through the same process of prioritizing them and deciding what you need to do throughout the day to keep you functioning at a high yet comfortable level.
Budget Your Time
Based on your daily goals and needs, block out your day and allocate time to each goal or need on your lists. Don’t think too hard about it; just use an online calendar or planner and write down your goals and needs next to the appropriate time markers. The process should be short and satisfying, providing you
with a way to hold yourself accountable for your time while helping you manage it in an efficient and effective way. Once you’ve developed your time budget, or schedule, stick to it as much as possible. If you’re employed by someone else, your efficiency could be recognized for a promotion; if you’re self-employed, you’ll literally give yourself more time in which to make money. Either way, you can’t lose.
Try to stay focused on what you need to do. Procrastination is a dangerous waste of time and, subsequently, money. Don’t leave your email open all day – just check it every hour or two and respond to messages right away. You should also avoid checking social networking sites, reading the news online, and anything else that causes a chain reaction of unproductive clicking.
Focus on Relaxation
Stress is also a tough enemy of efficient time management, so don’t let it affect you. Stay relaxed at work with deep breathing, a cup of tea, some soft background music, and anything else that calms you down without distracting you. Avoid multitasking and other activities that drain your energy and increase stress levels without allowing you to finish your work to the best of your ability. It may also help to start sitting on an exercise ball if you have a desk job, as this can minimize body aches at the end of the day and keep your posture strong. Making your work environment more relaxing will increase your productivity, helping you save time and money.
Lisa Shoreland is currently a resident blogger at Go College, where recently she’s been researching marketing communications scholarships as well as zoology scholarships. In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing, practicing martial arts, and taking weekend trips.