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Hi all,

So, we are on a money forum and I guess everybody makes a financial budget and most people here are all well organised with their money (or at least trying to).

I have my financial budget and it feels pretty easy to follow it (and no, I don't do 6 figures).

But when it comes to my "time budget" (time management), I've always felt like there was definitely not enough time in a day. I know, we all end-up with that conclusion. I've even asked myself that question since I'm a kid and I've always came back questioning myself again every year about how to manage time.

When I hear some people saying that I would find it boring at some point if I stopped working, I really don't know how they can get to that conclusion and how much brainwashing they had (or maybe they are trying to brainwash me with that idea), but I feel like even if I had 9 lives that would not be enough time to fulfil all my interests and goals.

And moreover, to all parents all there, you can start laughing at me - I don't even have kids (yet)! I know that most time in my "personal" category will go into "kids", but still it's healthy to keep time for ourselves.

I always try to find the right balance and I think it's a life quest. Maybe if my work/career could fit with my personal goals and life goals, I would have more time for other interests. I need my personal time because I'm an introvert and I am very independent (too much).

Anyways, here's how my life is distributed. Please note that is an indication, I'm not respecting this to that minute neither tracking my time, but categories and totals are a good indication of how I try to split my time.

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySundayTotalDistributionCategory
Sleep
8​
8​
8​
8​
8​
8​
8​
56​
33%​
Mandatory
Work
8​
8​
8​
8​
8​
0​
0​
40​
24%​
Mandatory
Eat
3​
3​
3​
3​
3​
3​
3​
21​
13%​
Mandatory
Groceries
0​
0​
0​
1​
0​
1​
0​
2​
1%​
Mandatory
Personal hygiene
0.5​
0.5​
0.5​
0.5​
0.5​
0.5​
0.5​
3.5​
2%​
Mandatory
Chores
0​
0​
0​
0​
0​
1​
1​
2​
1%​
Mandatory
Pauses & other
0.5​
0.5​
0.5​
0.5​
0.5​
0.5​
0.5​
3.5​
2%​
Mandatory
Daily quick workouts
0.5​
0.5​
0.5​
0.5​
0.5​
0.5​
0.5​
3.5​
2%​
Mandatory
Kids
0​
0​
0​
0​
0​
0​
0​
0​
0%​
Mandatory
Social activities
0.5​
0.5​
0.5​
0.5​
2​
2​
3​
9​
5%​
Social
Couple goals
0​
0​
0​
0​
0​
2​
2​
4​
2%​
Couple
Full workout
0​
1​
1​
0​
0​
1​
1​
4​
2%​
Personal
Personal life goal activities
0.5​
0.5​
0.5​
0.5​
0.5​
0.5​
0.5​
3.5​
2%​
Personal
Personal projects
2​
1​
1​
1​
0​
2​
2​
9​
5%​
Personal
Personal development
0.5​
0.5​
0.5​
0.5​
0.5​
1​
1​
4.5​
3%​
Personal
Creativity and discovery
0​
0​
0​
0​
0.5​
1​
1​
2.5​
1%​
Personal
Total
24​
24​
24​
24​
24​
24​
24​
168​
1​

Here's the summary :

Row LabelsSum of TotalSum of Distribution
Mandatory
131.5​
78%​
Personal
23.5​
14%​
Social
9​
5%​
Couple
4​
2%​
Grand Total
168​
100%​

To me, it's very important to live to a health life. Therefore, enough sleeping, healthy eating and daily quick workouts are mandatory.

Some explanations :
  • Eating includes cooking and washing the dishes (30 mins in the morning, 30 mins for lunch, 45 mins for dinner, 1h of cooking and 15 mins of dishes, yup that's about 3h)
  • Personal hygiene is all the time "wasted" taking a shower, going to the toilet, brushing teeth, etc.
  • Social activities includes time with friends, family and couple
  • Couple goals are more specific to projects we do together as a couple
  • Personal life goal activities are my personal long-term projects that may last my whole life
  • Personal projects are my short-term projects that I have based on my current interests
  • Personal development is the time I spend on self-education and reading
  • Creativity and discovery is the time I spend in no specific project or goal, it's all about discovering new things, new interests, new things to learn, etc.
I recently lost balance. In the last year, I started sleeping only 6h, then in the recent months sleeping 5h, then in the recent weeks sleeping 4h and in the last few days I even slept less than that. That's all because I became way too intense on some of my projects and I stopped everything else. No more healthy eating, no more daily quick workouts, no more full workouts, no more long-term goals, I went all-in in a personal project. I even lost 15% of my body weight which, in my case, is unhealthy.

Enough about me, now this discussion is meant to have a chat about you, how do you manage your time? Did you find your healthy balance? Did you simply stop thinking about it and just do whatever you feel? I guess we will have different answers based on your personal context and which stage you are in your life. As for me, I feel stuck in that frustration since two decades.
 

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^ Nice analysis and write-up ... and you're not alone in doing this.

I used to do that having been brainwashed from the workplace so as to account (mandated) for every minute (if not seconds) spent on the task/job. Eg. 5 minutes in the loo max (including 1 minute hand-washing) , exactly 30 minutes for lunch, coffee-breaks at the desk, etc., all to be logged in with the record (paper) to be handed by end of the week. As a result, I ended up spending more time "accounting" and recording this time-schedule than being able to allocating it to "efficiently" doing my "real job". This went on for more than a year. Management, of course, had no issue with this time-budgeting for us slaves as it was their mandate to (supposedly) to ensure their staff was using their time efficiently. I guess it was part of their "job" to ensure that staff don't waste time on the job. And their conclusion for this project? None. I'm sure there was fruition for them (aka a bonus) from all this - meeting the recycling quota with all the paper-records shredding at the end of the year.

So my answer to your question:
... Did you simply stop thinking about it and just do whatever you feel?
... yep, having to go through the above time-wasting bs.
 

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Where is the travel time to and from work? To and from anything else for that matter. Where are things like dentist/doctor appointments? Taking a car for service? Where is an entire Sunday afternoon spent on the golf course? Where is an entire Friday evening through Sunday afternoon late, spent at a family cottage? Where is vacation time?

Your list is entirely too simplistic and yet it covers the entire 168 hours in a week which means to me that if there are things not included in it, the things that are included are likely to be incorrect. In other words, your numbers are just a waste of time.
 

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Here are some approaches I use.

The big one is a book style day planner 'agenda'. In fact I plan to go to Staples to buy a new one today. This is where I write down important tasks I want to accomplish for the day, or big upcoming events. I realize that some people like using smartphones for this, but I'm an old fashioned 30 something who likes pen & paper.

Currently I'm sitting at my laptop, with my day planner/agenda on the left, and my coffee on the right.

I find it very helpful to clarify my most immediate and urgent To-Do item. Sometimes this means focusing more on this and excluding other things... but I find that's OK. I prefer getting one thing done, at a time, and crossing it off the list instead of thinking about all the things I could be doing.

It also gives me a nice sense of accomplishment. Defining doable tasks works for me.

For example, today's agenda item has two clear goals: write & mail a letter, and visit Staples for a specific item. There are a million other things to do of course, but I'm focusing on these.

When I hear some people saying that I would find it boring at some point if I stopped working, I really don't know how they can get to that conclusion
I never understood this either. I always have a lot to do, even if I'm on vacation.
 

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Relax LTA...it's just a simple chart showing how much time is eaten up by necessary functions and how little time is left for doing things one might enjoy. No need to nitpick it to death.

I used to visualize a similar financial chart in my head for disposable income...once living expenses, taxes, food, transportation, savings/retirement, and all the other mandatory expenses were factored in someone with a modest income might only have say $300 a month to spend freely. In effect, you had to work an hour to "earn" $1. That helped me to save money...I didn't want to "work" 25% of my day just to buy a takeout coffee on the way to work every day. So I bought a thermos and made coffee at home for 25 cents and only had to "work" 15 minutes for that coffee instead of 2 hours. Maybe that's silly but for me it was an effective way to put a value on frivolous purchases.

On the other hand I could also make $300 shingling a house on a Saturday (30 years ago). That meant that I was able to "earn" as much in one day of side work than I did for the entire month in my regular job. Of course I earned far more than $300 a month in my regular job but that one day of work doubled my disposable income for the month, and for that I was willing to give up 1 out of the 10 - 15 available days off each month (I worked longer hours and 4 days a week instead of shorter 5 day weeks).
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Where is the travel time to and from work? To and from anything else for that matter. Where are things like dentist/doctor appointments? Taking a car for service? Where is an entire Sunday afternoon spent on the golf course? Where is an entire Friday evening through Sunday afternoon late, spent at a family cottage? Where is vacation time?

Your list is entirely too simplistic and yet it covers the entire 168 hours in a week which means to me that if there are things not included in it, the things that are included are likely to be incorrect. In other words, your numbers are just a waste of time.
Well, at the moment, my commuting time is absent as I am working from home, but that's true that I forgot to add it as a recurring activity if ever I go back to the office. Things that do not occur weekly are not listed in this analysis. When there's a punctual event, it's just going to use the time I had planned for other things (social activities, personal activities).

I'm not tracking my time. I just did this exercise to figure out how much time I think I can put in each category of a balanced life. Without planning, things don't get done, the feeling of urge is absent and procrastination occurs. It doesn't feel productive. With too much planning, we end up overthinking everything and wasting time in planning instead of doing.

Everything has a right balance between planning and doing in order to optimise our efficiency. When it gets into the routine, you stop thinking about everything that you would like to accomplish because they are already all part of your routine.

Once you figure out the number of n recurring activities that you could realistically be able to accomplish every week, then, without tracking your time, you simply use the "don't break the chain" methodology to recall the goals and how to spend your time. Let's say I figure out I can accomplish 5 recurring activities every week, then I just log the days I did them and I try not to break the chain.

I used that to learn a language and it was very powerful. Each of us have our own methodologies, so it doesn't fit every personality, but it worked for me. Once you get to a strike of 100 days in a row, you don't want to break the chain.

If you've "budgeted" your time correctly (which is a one-time exercise that may take up to an hour), then all what's required is to mark one X on the calendar each day for each goal, which takes literally 5 seconds, which will build the habits to an efficiently balanced life and success in your goals.

Here are some approaches I use.

The big one is a book style day planner 'agenda'. In fact I plan to go to Staples to buy a new one today. This is where I write down important tasks I want to accomplish for the day, or big upcoming events. I realise that some people like using smartphones for this, but I'm and fashioned 30 something who likes pen & paper.

Currently I'm sitting at my laptop, with my day planner/agenda on the left, and my coffee on the right.

I find it very helpful to clarify my most immediate and urgent To-Do item. Sometimes this means focusing more on this and excluding other things... but I find that's OK. I prefer getting one thing done, at a time, and crossing it off the list instead of thinking about all the things I could be doing.

It also gives me a nice sense of accomplishment. Defining doable tasks works for me.

For example, today's agenda item has two clear goals: write & mail a letter, and visit Staples for a specific item. There are a million other things to do of course, but I'm focusing on these.
Yes, that's a very good point! A quick daily plan truly helps to get things done. That's the key, I totally agree.

This thread that I've started will certainly have different kind of opinions because of our personalities. In Myers-Briggs personality types, then fourth dichotomy is about the lifestyle preference, opposing Judging and Perceiving. J-type are more about plans, while P-types are more about spontaneity. Though, it's not black or white, people can make plans and yet be spontaneous.

I'm more the J-type because ironically, I plan my time so that I can have time to be spontaneous...

Relax LTA...it's just a simple chart showing how much time is eaten up by necessary functions and how little time is left for doing things one might enjoy. No need to nitpick it to death.

I used to visualize a similar financial chart in my head for disposable income...once living expenses, taxes, food, transportation, savings/retirement, and all the other mandatory expenses were factored in someone with a modest income might only have say $300 a month to spend freely. In effect, you had to work an hour to "earn" $1. That helped me to save money...I didn't want to "work" 25% of my day just to buy a takeout coffee on the way to work every day. So I bought a thermos and made coffee at home for 25 cents and only had to "work" 15 minutes for that coffee instead of 2 hours. Maybe that's silly but for me it was an effective way to put a value on frivolous purchases.

On the other hand I could also make $300 shingling a house on a Saturday (30 years ago). That meant that I was able to "earn" as much in one day of side work than I did for the entire month in my regular job. Of course I earned far more than $300 a month in my regular job but that one day of work doubled my disposable income for the month, and for that I was willing to give up 1 out of the 10 - 15 available days off each month (I worked longer hours and 4 days a week instead of shorter 5 day weeks).
Yes, exactly, that was my point. We build financial budgets to see how much money goes into mandatory expenses and then we try to figure out what we can do with the little money left to ourselves and so many things we would like to do with that money. I was bridging a parallel to budgeting our time when we realise we have so little time left for our personal activities, you got it right.
 

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I use a whiteboard in my office for my goals for the month in terms of the business and 1-2 hours a day on financial spreadsheets rest of time I focus on my family time and self care.
 

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Three hours a day for eating? Most days my total meal time would less than an 1 hour.
C'mon cainvest. No call for surprise. When 3 hours is consumed (2/3 of a pun...p.u.) the activity transcends mere eating. We are now into the realm of dining. Something refined folk can appreciate. :):)
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Three hours a day for eating? Most days my total meal time would less than an 1 hour.
It includes cooking and washing dishes, I have no dishwasher.

I take 30 mins for breakfast, 30 mins for lunch and 45 mins for dinner since I'm with my spouse, then add 1h of cooking for that healthy dinner and next day's lunch and 15 mins doing the dishes. Sums up too fast in my opinion, but it's that sad truth.
 

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It includes cooking and washing dishes, I have no dishwasher.

I take 30 mins for breakfast, 30 mins for lunch and 45 mins for dinner since I'm with my spouse, then add 1h of cooking for that healthy dinner and next day's lunch and 15 mins doing the dishes. Sums up too fast in my opinion, but it's that sad truth.
I was including my cooking and dishes time as well, no dishwasher either.
Most of my dinner leftovers are used for my next lunch as well.
I don't have one but maybe invest in a instant pot to save time? :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
You could look into one of those synthetic slurry food substitutes if food is taking up too much time.

Unfortunately these can cause uncontrollable gas and diarrhea in some people but I've also read some positive reviews.
I was including my cooking and dishes time as well, no dishwasher either.
Most of my dinner leftovers are used for my next lunch as well.
I don't have one but maybe invest in a instant pot to save time? :)
Nah, it's because my spouse is nutritionist-dietitian and everything we cook is 100% home-made with raw ingredients except for a few transformed foods like rice vinegar, tahini, soy sauce, tofu, mustard, etc. We never buy a dressing or a pre-made sauce or any pre-made mix of anything and we reduced animal products as well.

The healthy cooking & eating is part of our lifestyle.
 

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I work shifts and from when I shut my door in the morning until I open it in the evening, I have exactly 4 hours each night to myself. Like you, I've also understood the value of time and try to get it back whenever possible. Here are some of the things I do:

-save every possible task that can be done at work, for work. Including bathroom use. Paying online bills. Calling to book appointments, etc.

-combine 2 tasks when possible. I eat in front of the TV or computer. I brush my teeth and shower and listen to podcasts, browse the internet, etc in the shower.

-meal prep is huge. lunch is always last nights leftovers. Breakfast is always something quick like PB&J. we buy huge batches of groceries and freeze. We eat mostly frozen veggies to avoid washing/cutting.

-I buy a lot of extra clothes. I have enough underwear and socks to last a month between laundry loads. I never want to be caught having to do laundry in the middle of the week.

-I never show up to work earlier than necessary. It is always down to the wire. 5 minutes early is enough in my eyes.

-may not be for everyone, but I also speed everywhere. Not excessively but I've realized that getting the time back is worth far more than the tickets, insurance, etc.

-always shop at odd hours or early in the morning.

-I skip a lot of workouts and try to turn them into chores. 20 minutes will be for sweeping, vacuuming and mopping the floors as fast as possible.
 

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-save every possible task that can be done at work, for work. Including bathroom use. Paying online bills. Calling to book appointments, etc.
. . .
-may not be for everyone, but I also speed everywhere. Not excessively but I've realized that getting the time back is worth far more than the tickets, insurance, etc.
Just an observation, based on what you also posted in the '35 and no goals' thread.

To me, it sounds like you need to work less because this will create more time for yourself. You need more time for yourself. Maybe an extended vacation, leave, or just quit and don't get another job for a year or two.

Shaving off a little extra time at work helps, but it doesn't really cut it (from my experience). The core issue for me was that the majority of my productive waking hours were dedicated to the office, leaving me with very few hours & energy for myself.

And I sure hope you are fully using your available vacation days. A major problem in Canada is that, like the US, we have some of the shortest vacations in the world. Most parts of the world know that it's "not enough".
 

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C'mon cainvest. No call for surprise. When 3 hours is consumed (2/3 of a pun...p.u.) the activity transcends mere eating. We are now into the realm of dining. Something refined folk can appreciate. :):)
LOL, now here is a subject regarding time-budgeting that I can get my teeth into. Pun intended.

When I first started living in Greece, I would go to my local kafeneion (coffee shop) in my village for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon coffee and it would take me perhaps 15 minutes to arrive, have my coffee and leave. Over a period of time, I LEARNED that that was not what life and 'time-budgeting' was all about.

While we live in a fast paced world, not all of the world is as foolish as we are in N. America. I came to realize that spending an average of 1.5 hours in my kafeneion was about far more than coffee. It is an integral and important part of daily life in Greece.

Similarly, the amount of time spent eating lunch or dinner in countries like France, Italy, Spain, etc. is not about how 'efficient' you are with your time. It is about enjoying life in all that you do, including the time you spend at the table eating, drinking, conversing, laughing, etc.

Another aspect that is sadly lacking in N. American culture is the siesta. If I were to make a spreadsheet of how I use my time, it would have to include time for a siesta every day, which I have been doing now for about 30 years. I find it amusing that 'science' is starting to tell us that a siesta is good for our health, our productivity and our happiness, as if this was news.
.

We here in N. America have a very specific view of time and time management. It is based on money and the well known saying, 'time is money'. In pursuit of money, we invented 'fast food'. Think about that, why do you want food to be fast? Answer, because you believe that food is only fuel and the less time you spend re-fueling, the more time you can spend making money. The question to ask yourself is does 'fast food' save you time or does it in fact simply allow you to waste more time pursuing money rather than enjoying life? What is the ultimate goal in life, to die rich or to die happy?
 

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Think about that, why do you want food to be fast? Answer, because you believe that food is only fuel and the less time you spend re-fueling, the more time you can spend making money.
Food is fuel and many times I'm eating it is just that. The time saved eating can be used for anything, not just making money.

For this thread it is more of which category does the time fall under. If I spent 3-4 hours having a BBQ with friends do I log that under eating or do I say eating was 0.5 hours and socializing was 3.5 hours?
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
LOL, now here is a subject regarding time-budgeting that I can get my teeth into. Pun intended.

When I first started living in Greece, I would go to my local kafeneion (coffee shop) in my village for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon coffee and it would take me perhaps 15 minutes to arrive, have my coffee and leave. Over a period of time, I LEARNED that that was not what life and 'time-budgeting' was all about.

While we live in a fast paced world, not all of the world is as foolish as we are in N. America. I came to realize that spending an average of 1.5 hours in my kafeneion was about far more than coffee. It is an integral and important part of daily life in Greece.

Similarly, the amount of time spent eating lunch or dinner in countries like France, Italy, Spain, etc. is not about how 'efficient' you are with your time. It is about enjoying life in all that you do, including the time you spend at the table eating, drinking, conversing, laughing, etc.

Another aspect that is sadly lacking in N. American culture is the siesta. If I were to make a spreadsheet of how I use my time, it would have to include time for a siesta every day, which I have been doing now for about 30 years. I find it amusing that 'science' is starting to tell us that a siesta is good for our health, our productivity and our happiness, as if this was news.
.

We here in N. America have a very specific view of time and time management. It is based on money and the well known saying, 'time is money'. In pursuit of money, we invented 'fast food'. Think about that, why do you want food to be fast? Answer, because you believe that food is only fuel and the less time you spend re-fueling, the more time you can spend making money. The question to ask yourself is does 'fast food' save you time or does it in fact simply allow you to waste more time pursuing money rather than enjoying life? What is the ultimate goal in life, to die rich or to die happy?
I totally agree. There are many places in Europe where they take time for lunch or midday sports and everything you just mentioned. People in North America don't have the right work-culture. I recall people in the US telling me that if you can take more than 2 weeks of vacation in one block, then that means the company doesn't really need you that much, that means you are replaceable. Wow. I have 4 weeks of vacation and also my office is closed from December 24 to January 2, which kinda means I have a total of 5 weeks of vacation and I would never hesitate to that 3 or 4 weeks of vacation in one block. I definitely wish I had as much vacation as they have in Europe and I even plan on moving to Europe someday.

I also think that's why I'm looking for a solution where I would be 100% in control of my schedule, 100% independent.

We all have our preferences about schedule. At my job, when we were still going to the office before COVID, we could leave at noon on Friday if we had done our 40h at that time. In my understanding, that means instead of 5 days of 8h, you could do 4 days of 9h and 1 day of 4h. That's cool when you have big plans for the weekend, but yet that means 1 more hour each day for 4 days. Companies are still time-driven instead of being objective-driven, but that's another debate, there are pros & cons for each. I almost never took that Friday PM off because I didn't want to work 1 more hour each day for 4 days. Yet, other people have a different opinion and I'm glad I have that possibility because sometimes I used that advantage we have.

That made me think : And if we could work 4 days of 10h and 3 days off? Well, I wouldn't want that. Sure, sometimes I would do it, be not that often. Yet, when I was a teen, I use to work at a shop where we were doing 3 days of 12h and 4 days off and honestly that was my dream schedule at that time.

And what if we would work 6 days of 6h?

In my opinion, there are no perfect schedule except the one that is 100% free as long as you are able to deliver your objectives in a reasonable amount of time inside deadlines. But in companies we have schedules because we have to work as a team and spend time working together. That's also why I wish I had a work where I would be 100% independent (and people would be 100% independent of me).

Creativity and productivity cannot be time-boxed. Sometimes I can work 12h when I have a flow of ideas and other days I cannot achieve a single task in hours.

Food is fuel and many times I'm eating it is just that. The time saved eating can be used for anything, not just making money.

For this thread it is more of which category does the time fall under. If I spent 3-4 hours having a BBQ with friends do I log that under eating or do I say eating was 0.5 hours and socializing was 3.5 hours?
That's why I'm not tracking time, but simply budgeting an overview, an estimate. Based on my personal categories, eating with friends means you are multi-tasking "eat" & "social", which is great!
 

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"Not enough time in a day" - yeah, sometimes it can feel like that. Thanks for interesting time schedule. It is nice to improve time management.
 
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