January is a great time to readjust how you spend your days. This month I’m using a time budget to help me meet goals and get my act together! (Again.)
I’m going to be using a time budget to meet my goals this year. But first the back story.
Here we are halfway through January and things are starting to calm down. We aren’t going to hear so much about goal setting stuff because February is on its way. And folks give up in February, right?
But, I’m not giving up in February, because I got a slow start. I feel like I’ve been sleeping through these first couple weeks of the year and have not gotten up to speed. At least not the speed at which anything significant can be accomplished.
Except sleep. I’m getting good at sleep. Over the last week or so, a few light bulbs have gone off, shaking me awake.
So, now that I’m waking from my long winter nap, I’m thinking about how I want to get my act together in a healthy, happy way. In years past, I’ve done it by just pushing through, despite how bad or how tired I might feel. This year, I want to do it in a different way. I want to get rah-rah and achieve my goals, but I want to do it in a healthy way.
I’ve been brewing these ideas for a few weeks, and am finally getting to a place where I’m ready to get moving. Here are some questions that I’ve been sitting with and thinking about:
Am I too busy?
Folks often say that your busy-ness is your own fault. If you’re too busy, you need to streamline and say no to more things. The thing is that I don’t do a lot of outside things. I am not writing a cookbook. I don’t have any big projects going. But, I do have a full life with work, six kids, a home, and homeschooling.
What’s on my plate is what’s on my plate. I’m not going to eliminate these very key, important elements in my life.
Conclusion: Since I don’t have extra things to cross off my list, I simply need to do better with the time I have.
This would be light bulb #1.
Though I’ve been sleeping, or so it seems, I’ve still been dreaming. Dreaming big, my friends! I’ve got dreams and goals for the year.
What are my goals?
We’ve all heard about all kinds of ways to set goals — and I walked into the new year with my hot little goals list in hand, however, one resource that is helping me think differently about my goals is the Push Goal Planner from Chalene Johnson. I downloaded her free planner at the start of the year, but it took me two weeks before I dug into it.
Chalene’s focus is on push goals. Basically, “a push goal is that thing that, if achieved, would make all (or most) of the others possible”. It’s not necessarily the most important, but it’s that lead domino that can enable the others to fall.
Last week I was working through her worksheets and had a little aha moment (light bulb #2) when I read this question:
What one thing can I do in the next 90 days that would help me master or accomplish the 10 goals on my list, or at a minimum have no negative effect?
What’s my push goal?
So, I looked at my top ten goals for the first 90 days of the year:
- Get FishChick7 reading independently.
- Get school back on track.
- Have set work/school hours
- Update finances, savings, etc.
- Prepare for taxes, FAFSA, etc.
- Dejunk again.
- Exercise daily.
- Have special time with my husband daily.
- Take coffee walks with the kids.
- Have a weekly rest day.
Well, duh. What’s #11? What’s that one thing that could help me make these ten things happen?
Getting a time budget going!
Setting a new time budget is my push goal, that one goal that I’m starting with to bring the other ten to fruition.
A Time Budget
A Time Budget will help me achieve these things. That one step of allocating my time properly will help me fit in exercise, time with my family, bookkeeping, tax prep, reading practice, work, school, and probably even more!
I have bucked schedules for more than 20 years, but the seasons when I have been the most productive and calmest, despite the chaos around me — those seasons have been characterized by having a time budget and a schedule. I know that a scheduled time budget will work!
The key, I’ve discovered, to have a schedule that doesn’t feel jerky and strict is to make sure that there is enough margin, enough family time, enough rest, enough exercise, enough good things as well as those things that just need to get done.
In the old days I crammed as much into my time budget as I could. Now I know that a schedule can be my friend, particularly when there are fun things on the schedule!
Are you in the same place as me? Do you need to add a little more structure to your days and weeks?
Then here’s how YOU can make a Time Budget.
1. Write down all your responsibilities and to-do’s, big and small, fun and not fun.
2. Estimate how long each of these things per day or week.
3. Do some math. You’ve got 24 hours in a day and 168 hours in the week. This worksheet can help you do it.
4. The numbers need to jive. Pare down, delegate, undecide to do that thing.
5. Block out the time frames on a weekly grid. Like this one.
6. Walk this schedule through its paces. Tweak as needed.
While I’ll still be working on my other ten goals this quarter, I think that this time management one is the hinge point, the one thing that will help me make/find/create the time to accomplish those other things.
I know it won’t happen overnight, but I know from experience that it will happen, and I’m so excited to get it going!