Budgeting Your Life Part II: Time (Includes Free Planning Tool)

In Part 1 of Budgeting, the ideology and importance of budgeting out income for food and healthy living was the main focus. Now budgeting skills aren’t just great for saving money, it’s an excellent way of saving time and achieving goals that lead to our individual growth. Budgeting our time gives us the necessary time slots to work on ourselves, spend time with our loved ones, and optimize every moment of our day.  When trying to create a healthy lifestyle for yourself, taking the time to prepare meals will drastically aid you in those efforts. If you don’t budget out time for healthy activities, the only ones left are unhealthy ones, and it’s always good to keep in mind nothing worthwhile is ever easy. This article will focus on the ideology for time, benefits of it, along with offering a weekly meal and daily routine guide to help you practice the art of efficiency.

Budgeting time to prepare meals is the best option towards creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. When we better plan our breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks throughout the week we maximize our money spent and invest our time in a more constructive outlet; one could even use each spare moment to learn something new. However the most important aspect to living a healthy life is learning how to cook. You leave yourself to be a victim of temptation when you don’t allow yourself to have time to plan and prepare your own meals. Eating out and/or buying freezer foods adds up quick in the bank account and is noticeable in the increased waste lines. The only way to avoid those issues is to set time aside when you can look up recipes and prepare them. Everyone can give themselves those 15 minutes or so to plan, and through budgeting your time you can develop a constructive, progressive routine. Leaving time to plan meals for the week saves time in the kitchen, out at the store, and leaves more time to do different activities. Cooking is like any creative art, you grow mentally and physically, plus it’s an amazing self esteem booster as you feel proud and accomplished of nourishing your body from your own two hands and effort. However the biggest enemy of creating these time slots comes in the form of laziness.

A big hindrance towards budgeting out time wisely comes from us being too inactive, or as many others put it, being too tired. Now it’s an everyday struggle living in our fast paced world, and each of us is affected in a different way. For others, the busy schedule with work, kids, etc. leaves us feeling stressed and drained. Having the busy work/parenting life can drain so much of our energy that only a slothful version of the self remains. After we get home and/or finish with dinner the result is little to zero productivity. It usually starts off with the quick ‘rest’ or ‘break,’ which snowballs into full blown couch potato mode or getting caught up in the many distractions now within our fingertips. The biggest way to overcome laziness is discipline; it is the only way to end our mental struggle. Like all things in life, it takes preparation to succeed. Eliminating our lazy ways can only be achieved through planning out our days and creating a routine that is positive for us, all which can be done when we budget out our time. When we lack the plan and let slothfulness take over, we allow our bodies to waste away and leave the door to our minds open for abuse.

Our world of instant gratification has opened up new technological doors, many are very beneficial, but others break down our willpower and mental discipline. There are so many of these activities that limit our potential, from mindless television and games on our devices, to hours spent surfing the web, on apps, and playing video games and the countless that cannot be mentioned. These distractions over stimulate our minds leading us into a cycle of distraction; and typically we go to bed and repeat that cycle the very next day. The main reason this cycle continues is because we desire the need to be entertained mentally all the time, we need our mental ‘fix.’ When that mental stimulus comes from outside sources, the result is addiction, plain and simple. Like drugs, we find happiness and satisfaction in something that isn’t our own, creating an emptiness that needs to be filled constantly. Now the most important part to realize about a life of addictions is the fact of what it leads to: an unhealthy repetitive cycle of life.

The result of the above examples can vary drastically per individual. Many become unhappy because they’re stuck in the daily cycle of ‘work, eat, sleep, and repeat’ dreading just about everything life has to offer. Due to the distractions, some don’t eat or sleep in general and their health begins to plummet.  Others don’t even realize their lifestyle is the cause of their unhappiness and they waste their time and energy findings other aspects of their life to fix to no avail. Then there are those that want to change, but get overwhelmed on where to start and continue their same cyclic ways. Ultimately there are those that see the issues and problems with their lives, but chose not to do anything because they don’t care enough, even though they are fully capable of changing for the better. Now people are a mixture of the above examples for various approaches to life, but the results of either life style can only lead to a decline or a standstill in life progress. However if we develop routines, and most importantly stick to them, we offer ourselves the much-needed escape of the dull lifestyle.

Ultimately a routine must have a goal towards its creation; it can range from cooking more, having more outlets, getting in shape, being more disciplined, ending bad habits, you name it. But when we don’t have a goal in our daily routine, it’s hard to keep ourselves motivated or focused on anything other than what’s in front of us in the present. Budgeting time for yourself is hindered and potentially wasted if there’s no direction to it.  Setting up time slots and having those goals saves us from falling into the usual trap of wasting time. Waking up early, getting enough sleep, spending less time doing mindless tasks, and cooking are some examples towards the right direction when building a routine for positive change. Giving yourself time and using that to invest in yourself and those around you is the only way to really grow; it offers us an escape from temporary change like many of us fall into. Our satisfaction in ourselves and life are improved through proper planning, scheduling, setting goals and achieving them. Learning new things and practicing new arts result in happiness and bring ourselves one step closer to success. And in order to have those opportunities we must manage our time and create the necessary openings for us to get the most out of each day and ourselves.

The best thing we can each do for ourselves is to manage our time to better our lives. Allowing ourselves to participate in a hobby is an ultimate stress reliever, not to mention we’re growing mentally and physically while we’re doing it. It will revitalize our spirits and create a more complete life outside of the work world. Whether it’s setting up time to have some self expression, through drawing, painting, music, dancing, singing, cooking- whatever that outlet is for you, ensure you give yourself time to unwind. This is how hobbies develop, this is how our skills grow, and this is how a progressive lifestyle is made. Being creative doesn’t just mean something from the arts, it could be cleaning, organizing, math, science, etc; you can even set up time to learning a new language or master any other skill. As long as you put in the consistent effort and time, you’ll grow in many ways and feel better about yourself than ever before. This time doesn’t just allow us to be more expressive, but it also helps us get things done. For the most part, much of our life has been structured; and as we age that structure and schedule changes its focus. But when we allow ourselves time in the day to nourish our mind, body, and spirit we open up the doors of opportunity for ourselves. Utilizing our time for productive action is the ultimate start towards a healthy lifestyle. There’s no better tool than preparation when it comes to life, and budgeting time is the first step at preparing that blueprint for success and progress.

 I created this weekly planner for daily activities and goals; along with creating a separate sheet for planning meals for the work week. This document allows my significant other and me to optimize our time and I hope this can help you as well. If you don’t want to use this sheet, start using your own personal calendar/planner and start your journey towards a more productive life. When you set your goals and create a plan, the next step is achieving them through action.

Your New Meal Plans and Routines Will Be Great!

plan
(Here’s an example of how the chart could be used for your everyday preparation needs)

 

One of the best aspects of planning for our days comes in the realization that we can do this with our families and loved ones. Changing yourself for the better will bring positive growth towards all around you, but staying consistent and growing as a unit is extremely beneficial to ones growth. We all learn and have a different skill set, but ultimately, our life experience is always boosted when we can share and learn from others. So get on out there and plan for your future!

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