Thursday, March 13, 2014

Budgeting Your Time

Last night I had the opportunity to attend a Jaycee's meeting in which Nate Boulton, a local attorney and civil justice advocate was the guest speaker.  The conversation was about the importance of networking and being involved in our communities.  One of the golden nuggets from the workshop that I thought I would like to share with you is the importance of budgeting our time.  

Many times we hear that people do not have enough time and we may even be guilty of saying this ourselves.  People will make time for the things they have decided are important and are valuable to them.  Budgeting our time is one of the things that we need to do in order to meet the goals in various areas of our lives.  If you don't decide what you are going to do with your time others are going to have the power to do that for you or your most valuable asset may be wasted. 

How do you budget your time effectively?  Budgeting your time is like budgeting your money, you should start with what you value. Here are the steps I would recommend taking to make sure that your schedule represents what you most value. 
Step 1: List the things that are important for you to do with your time (people to spend time with, organizations to be involved in, ways you are going to earn money, investments into yourself, etc.) 
Step 2: Prioritize the list  
Step 3: Decide what you want to budget your time with (paper calendar, electronic calendar, etc.) 
Step 4: Add the required things in your calendar (hours at work, children activities, sleep, etc.) 
Step 5: Add the next round of things most important to you (date nights, organization meetings/events, community/networking opportunities, family time, working on goals, etc.) 
Step 6: Decide what to do with the remaining time (more community involvement, family time, reading, mentoring others, volunteering, etc.).
If you don't some of these steps you are more likely to waste your valuable time when it could be used to make additional investments in yourself and others.   What do you think?  Do you budget your time?  Do you have any additional tips that would help others?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

March Update

While this winter has seemed long the new year doesn't feel like it could have already been 2 months ago.  This year has been a busy one as I work on new things spiritually, financially, intellectually, relationally, and physically.  I am going to take this opportunity to give an update where I am on my 2014 goals.

Spiritual Goal: 
My spiritual goal is to connect with God each day through prayer, reading his Word and reflection.  
I am still working on intentionally praying daily - it has been the weakest part of my spiritual walk in recent years.  I know I need to be in constant prayer when times are good and when times are rough.  We started in a new small group study in February based on Max Lucado's book Fearless which was one of the books I read as part of my intellectual goal.  So far I have been happy with the study as it pushes us to fear less and rely on God more.  
Financial Goal:  For 2014, we are going to try to stretch ourselves and set a financial goal of paying off at least 60% of the debt that is remaining on our mortgage.  
Anna and I are still focused on this and looking for ways to cut cost and save us money for the short term to eliminate our debt quicker.  This month we changed internet service providers which will cut $10-15 each month out of our regular expenses to put toward debt reduction.  In addition, I was asked and decided to coach girls soccer this spring.  That extra income will get us closer to making this stretch goal a reality.  As of today, we are projected to be debt free in 19 months. 

Intellectual Goal: My intellectual goal will be to read the same three books at least once a month and spend time reflecting on the principles and applying them into my life. When I find a book that has principles to that would be beneficial to read over and over again it will stay in my three book diet for the rest of the year. 
I have decided to change my 2014 intellectual goal to allow myself the flexibility that I have been giving myself already.  I did finish my January book that carried and my three books for February.  I have decided not to continue to read Fearless for the rest of the year.  Teacherpreneurs is a book that I would love reading over and over again but it was borrowed and I need to return it this month therefore I will not keeping it in my 3 book diet.  I am be keeping Andy Andrews' book The Noticer Returns in my reading list for the rest of the year.  The two books I am going to be adding for the month of March are Your Money Counts by Howard Dayton and Teaching an Anthill to Fetch by Stephen James Joyce.  

Relational Goal: NEW: I will schedule an opportunity for at least one date with Anna each month. 
Since I already completed my relational goal for 2014 in January, I decided to add a new one.  Anna and I will be celebrating out 10th anniversary this year so I want to make the whole year special not just one day.  Since William was born we have not done an awesome job of making sure to schedule date nights as I have seen other friends do and marriage experts talk about.  For the rest of the year I am going to be intentional and get these on my schedule before each month begins to work on continuing to grow closer with my wife. 

Physical Goal:  My physical goal is to run a marathon by the end of the year. 
Today I started week 3 of a 12 week 1/2 marathon training program.  Once I complete this training I will start working up toward being ready to run a marathon by the end of the year.   Right now I am shooting for the Des Moines marathon in October, but that could change.