Saturday, November 06, 2010

Use a Day Planner to Budget Your Time

To maintain balance in your life you have to examine your personal values and make sure that the things that are important to you are reflected in your day planner. Your day planner should display your personal time budget.

Planning is important in order to avoid impulse spending of time. Plan what TV programs you will watch, the sporting events you will attend, the family outings, jogging, quiet time and so on. The best day planner should go from 7am to 10 pm, 7 days a week so that personal activities can be scheduled as well as business activities. Block off your vacations, evening classes, church activities, your child's little league games, those scheduled dates with your spouse, those special events, that annual cruise or camping trip. Sometimes you may have to schedule personal activities during work time and work activities during personal time. Balance is a blend of work and personal life; there's no guarantee that one won't intrude on the other - but it balances out.

You should plan both your work priorities and your personal priorities at least a week in advance, and schedule them into your day planner. Don't over schedule. We recommend that you schedule between 30% and 50% of your available time after work for those key areas of your life, including family, friends, exercise, household projects and so on. Allow time for last minute opportunities, family demands and spontaneity. You must have plenty of discretionary time.

If you develop poor working habits, such as continually working overtime, working through lunch, not taking breaks, working at the kitchen table after dinner - your life can soon get out of balance. The habit of eating in front of the TV set can cause problems as well, since we develop the habit of watching TV with no purpose in mind.

Just as meetings consume a lot of time at work, TV consumes a lot of time at home. And just as we should have meeting-free days at work to concentrate on priority tasks, so we should have TV-free evenings at home to concentrate on quality time with the family. So it makes sense to decide in advance which TV programs you will watch - then stick to your plan.

Don't rely on "To Do" lists - they're simply intentions and are frequently postponed. Activities and projects that are scheduled in your planner become commitments, and those are the things that usually get done.

About The Author
Harold Taylor's website
Harold Taylor has been speaking, writing and conducting training programs on the topic of effective time management for over 30 years. He has written 16 books, including the Canadian bestseller, Making Time Work For You. He has developed over 50 time management products that have sold in 38 countries around the world.

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