Is Your Time Budget Overdrawn?
Creating a budget aligned with your Values (and sticking to it) can take the stress and guilt out of spending decisions. The same concept applies to decisions on how you spend your time. There are a finite number of hours in a day. Time is a very valuable currency and should be used wisely.
This is a lesson I learned several years ago. Every month I review my finances. I reconcile my bank account and look at my expenses versus my budget. I have been doing this for years.
But my calendar …that’s another story. Calendar invites fill my in-box, and I hit accept. Invites for work meetings, social events, and my non-profit board activities. No screening process. If I’m available, I accept. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being busy, but I never really looked at my time until my daughter Isabel tore her ACL while skiing, during her junior year at the University of Denver.
Isabel has a great sense of humor. She posted a picture on Instagram of her being taken off the mountain on a ski patrol sled. Her caption — “Go big or go home.”
She went big and she went home! Isabel had surgery in Chicago during her spring break. The day before she was to return to school, we all realized she was going to need some help.
I quickly booked a trip to Denver for the week to help get her situated. No problem, how hard could it be to leave for a week? I opened my calendar and was surprised at all the activity. Where did all this stuff come from? There were client meetings, management meetings, date night, social events, an industry dinner, networking events, Cubs tickets, a birthday dinner, and caring for my neighbor’s cat (don’t worry — my husband Stephen took care of Fuzzy).
Wow. What a busy week. Maybe this was an unusual one. I looked at the week before and the week after. I was booked solid those weeks too. Obviously, it had been a while since I took a long look at how my time was allocated. My head starting spinning. I took a deep look at my calendar and some themes started to emerge. Did I really say “yes” to all these commitments? I needed to be more intentional with my time.
While reviewing my calendar, I asked myself an important question:
Is how I am spending my time aligned with my Core Values?
From this exercise, I realized the following:
- I was not spending enough time on one of my Core Values: health. I needed more time to make healthy meals and go to the gym. I decided to schedule my workouts like I schedule work appointments.
- I needed to be more selective on the business networking events I attended.
- I should not automatically accept calendar meeting invites. Did I really need to attend that event, meeting, or lunch?
- Although “Giving Back” is a Core Value of mine, I was participating in too many non-profit boards and seemed to be stretched a little thin. Late night meetings interfered with early morning workouts. When my next board terms are over, I will not automatically renew. I will think through all the options.
I tend to be a “yes” person. Now that I have learned to understand the consequences of always saying “yes,” what will I have to say “no” to as a result?
Each hour is important. Budget your time wisely.
- How are you currently spending your time?
- Does your time align with your values?
- Do you enjoy all these activities?
- Any changes you would like to make?
Shari Greco Reiches
Shari co-founded Rappaport Reiches Capital Management with one goal - to maximize the return on life for her clients. Please connect with Shari below. She loves to talk about investing, financial planning, and Barry Manilow.