Recently, I was questioning why I felt like I was running out of hours in the day even though I only have class 4 days per week, and mostly half days at that. I feel like I have just enough leisure time to avoid going insane.
But that made me curious about how many hours I was getting and whether or not that really was enough.
Creating a Time Budget Worksheet
I love spreadsheets and use them to manage everything else, so why not also my time?
I created a time budget worksheet to allocate hours each day. I assigned activities the following 3 categories:
- Operational. These are the necessary tasks to keep myself and my home running smoothly.
- Work. Includes both paid work and volunteer work.
- Leisure. Exercise and free time!
Why budget your time?
The reason you should budget your time is the same to budget your money: to ensure you’re spending where you want to.
Budgeting your time not only gives you the opportunity to schedule important tasks, it can help you organize your errands and work to be the most efficient and productive.
How much leisure time does a person need?
Leisure time is an indicator of well being. That means how much leisure time the average citizen has in a country is a determination of how well that nation is doing.
But what I really wanted to know is: can I find a balance in my time that will maximize productivity while still leaving me enough time to enjoy life?
What gets measured, gets managed
My classes this term have been focused on things like strategy and operations management for business. From what I can see, good ideas aren’t exclusive to corporations. You can translate them to your personal life.
A well-run business knows how its labor and resources are being utilized, so can this be true of a well-run life? I went ahead and quantified how I spend my time each day.
My Time Budget Template
Like the layout? If you’re running Numbers on your Mac and want to create your own time budget, you can download the template by clicking here.
Like all budgets, the above is variable and subject to external forces. Exam time drives my homework up and leisure time down. Sometimes I skip a yoga class to put in extra hours on the site.
Occasionally I forego sleep to conquer yet another continent in Civilization V. But overall, I think it’s a good estimate of my average week.
A breakdown of my time budget categories
Household Tasks include everything from errands to meal preparation, as well as house cleaning.
School represents total time spent on campus, including the commute to and from, where Homework is school assignments I complete on my own time.
Online Business represents all the tasks that keep the site running, which include writing posts, managing advertising, answering emails, and typical housekeeping. It also includes my freelance writing jobs.
I was a little surprised by this number, but lengthly posts with external research and lots of editing can take hours to put together (if you factor in the spreadsheets, this post took you’re reading right now me almost 2 hours to put together!). Don’t ever let anyone tell you blogging is passive income!
I Volunteer 2-3 hours a week on Mondays. I hesitated between putting this with work stuff or leisure. I decided that because it’s a scheduled obligation, it falls in with the rest of my work, even though it’s unpaid. I’m not paid to go to school either and that’s certainly work!
Leisure activities represent everything from reading to watching Netflix to going out with friends. Unsurprisingly, I have a lot of time on the weekends and next to no time mid-week.
Any surprises in how I spend my time?
Between school and managing this website, I’m logging 6-hour workweeks.
So much for the student life being an easy ride! No wonder I’m tired. I’m just kidding, 50-60 hours per week of work is my productivity sweet spot.
Working this much is my career Goldilocks bed that’s just right. My school and writing time are inversely related, and I do my best to spend what’s needed on both:
I categorized sleep, personal care, and household as “operating” because in my mind they’re the “operating costs” of running a business: there’s always baseline, you just pay the piper and move on with it.
No matter how much I work or play, I will always need 8 hours of sleep per night. However, I was surprised that nearly half of my time just goes to keeping myself together. So much for the 80/20 principle. Wonder if hiring a maid would be worth it?
I’m getting nearly 10 hours less leisure time per week than the average Canadian
But what’s wrong with that? Nothing! Just like money budgets are not one-size-fits-all, time budgets aren’t either. Your task is the same: live within your means.
Fortunately and unfortunately, you can’t borrow time on credit
Unless you’re a character in this great dystopia fiction film starring Justin Timberlake called In Time, in which case, you can. Seriously, it’s an awesome movie (and available on Netflix!) that encapsulates the topic of today’s post:
- Are you spending your time the way you want to?
- Are you getting the most out of your time?
- Should you be allocating your time differently?
Tell me where and how you spend the time, what you wish you had more time for, what you wish you had less time off, and what you’re going to do differently!