9 Ways Managing Time is Like Managing Money

November 15, 2016

9 Ways Managing Time is Like Managing Money

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Have you ever said or asked yourself any of the following?

Wow, where did it all go?
I just don’t have enough.
I have no idea how I spent it.
If I only had more!

Now, did you say those things about money? Or time? Chances are at some point you’ve said them about both. There are many similarities between managing money and managing time. And we seem to struggle equally with them both.

Here are nine ways managing time is like managing your money.

1. If we manage it well, it will go further.

If you already do a monthly budget, then you know what happens as a result of planning how to spend your money. It almost feels like you have more of it. The same goes for time. Managed time will “stretch” further because you are consciously deciding how you will spend it.

2. We only have so much of it. It is finite.

While we do have the ability to earn more money, at any given moment, we are still limited to the money we currently have. Similarly, we all are given the same 168 hours a week. Time and money are finite. This is the very reason learning to manage them is so important.

3. If we’re not intentional about how we spend it, we will spend it on the wrong things.

Without having a plan for your money, it’s easy to reach the end of the month and realize there is not enough money to cover all your bills, yet earlier in the month, you managed to eat out and catch a few movies. The same goes for time. You sit down to watch a little TV, maybe check out Facebook for a few minutes (which we know is never just a few minutes), and then mysteriously there’s not enough time to do the things you need to do.

4. We always have enough for the things that we prioritize.

We are constantly declaring that we don’t have enough time or money. BUT, in reality, we do have enough for the things we choose to put first. We may not realize it, but we get to decide what gets the attention of our first dollars and the first minutes of our day. The key is to prioritize the right things.

5. If we don’t plan how to spend it, we will always wonder where it went.

Ever withdraw $40 from the ATM, and in two days it’s gone, but you’re not quite sure what you spent it on? Ever look at the clock on a Saturday only to realize it’s noon, and you haven’t done much of anything? When we don’t plan how we’re going to spend our time or money, it will “disappear.”

6. How we spend it reflects what we value.

How we spend our money and our time reflect what we value. Or at least it should. We all have some absolutes when it comes to what we spend our time and money on. Have you ever said, “I refuse to spend money on _____.” or “That’s not worth my time”? These absolutes are different for everyone and reflect what we value individually.

7. Writing down how you plan to spend it is the key to spending it well.

When you do a written budget for your money, you are simply establishing a plan for how you’re going to spend it. This is necessary because it’s impossible to keep everything straight if it’s only floating around in your head. Similarly, a written plan for how you’re going to spend your time will result in spending it wisely.

8. A lack of focus will sabotage your goals.

If you’re working towards reaching a financial goal, the key to achieving it is to focus solely on that goal. You will need to block out any distractions that prevent you from reaching your goal. The same holds true with time. Without focus, your goals will be delayed or worst, not attained at all.

9. Assessing and tweaking how you spend it is necessary.

Managing your time is just as an active process as managing your money. It is necessary to periodically review how you spend it and to adjust and change when needed. Perhaps some activities or commitments need to be eliminated while others should be added.

How Do We Manage Our Time Better?

I am no expert on time management. Even as I am writing, this I have been tempted to check my phone a gazillion times and do other things. Have I given in? Maybe.

But I have learned that if we take a couple of the fundamental principles of managing money and apply them to time, we can make some improvements in how we spend our time.

1. Track It

To manage your time better, you need first to assess how you’re currently spending it.

I came across a powerful exercise in the book, Simple Life, by Thom Rainer and Art Rainer. First, you write down everything that you consider important in your life—everything you value. Next, you record how you spent your time during a 24-hour period.

Lastly, you compare if how you spent your time during those 24 hours reflect what you said was important to you. If family is important, how much of that time did you spend with your spouse or your children? If you value physical health what part of your day was dedicated to that?

Tracking your time for a few 24-hour periods will reveal where your time is going and why you think you don’t have enough to do the things that you need and desire to do.

2. Create a Written Plan

There are many tools for managing your money ranging from the simple list-making to the elaborate division of your time into different quadrants. What appeals to you and what will work for you depends on your personality.

But one thing these systems have in common is that they all point you to writing down or documenting how you plan to spend your time. This is just as crucial as it is with money.

If you have never attempted to structure how you spend your time, simply start by writing down what you need and want to accomplish for any given amount of time—whether it’s for the week, the day or just for the next few hours.

Having a written plan you can follow provides guidance and direction for your time the same way a budget does for your money. In doing this, you will be more likely to accomplish the items on your list. And crossing them off as you achieve them will feel good too!

Related Reading: The 3 Costs of Procrastination

As with anything in which we want to see different results, we need to do things differently. If you struggle with managing time, plan to track it for a few days, and then commit to having a written plan for it. Assess and tweak your plan, and you will see the results you hope to see!

Do you agree that managing time is just like managing money? What are other ways it is similar? Or what are some ways it is different?

Do you struggle with time management? How about managing your money? These are nine ways managing time is like managing money.