Saturday, September 22, 2007

Time audit


Doing a time audit over the last few days, in my own time, enabled me to make some decisions about how I am spending my time and how I want to be spending my time in the future.
A good thing is that my sleep requirements have decreased as 3 years ago, I spent 18 hours horizontal, suspended just breathing so a lot of progress has been made there, not quite normal but acceptable and I spend more time awake than asleep ( although my family might argue with that one!)

Having read Janine Bolon's book Money its not just for rich people and being familiar with her 60/40 principle I wondered how applying it to time would work out. Well 60% devoted to work works out at about 37.8 hours which would be a fair amount. I decided the other categories would be 10% to community, 10 % self investment and education, 10% to family and friends and 10% to fun. If you have a family then that 37.8 hours includes the job of being a parent and should enable us to work out what balance we need between work outside the house and the work inside the house. When you do your audit you will find out where you spend your time and much TV do you watch, how much traveling do you do etc. The secret for me is not that I want to have rigidity in this equasion but that I can say NO when I am giving more than I need to my community, it helps me to pace my time and activities and keep a balance that works for me.

How would you like to spend your time?

Now I can sit down and make decisions about the amount of community contributions I make and whether that is necessary and whether I would rather spend more time with the kids, or less on fun items, where my personal time is etc etc. Wealth is not just about money but finding what makes you happy, fulfilled and gives you a feeling of being the richest person on earth; it is not always money ( although crying in silk sheets makes the drama more pleasurable), it is about being happy and having a feeling of wellbeing too.

If we accept that time is money I could negotiate with my time. Instead of sitting for hours on committees deciding how to fundraise, my time might be better spent by simply doing what I enjoy and donating the equivalent in cash to the charity. That may be more appealing to some people. So if you get paid £ 10 per hour ( this makes it easier to do maths with), and you decide that you want to spend 6 hours on community work but the thought does not appeal.....because you would rather be out fishing, well then give £ 30 to the youthclub for instance so they can pay someone who loves to do exactly that and you can go fish 3 hours with a free conscience. It will have cost you but you will have made the contribution. Go fishing but it will cost you! ( You can only go fish for 3 hours because you will need to work the extra 3 to pay the money)There have been days in the past where I have made cakes, bought them again, sat on the committee deciding how we would raise the money, set the tables for the event, made posters and raised £ 30.0o, and came home with 2 cakes after clearing up. Phew, I could have approached this in a different way!

A lightbulb moment in my downshifting monetary values was when I equated the cost of an item to the amount of hours I needed to work at a job I did not enjoy. That in itself makes you think before you shop. I have tried to teach that principle to my children and sometimes they get it, and other times I am just not cool!

Now that I have my priorities I can check whether I actually spend that amount of time doing what I want to do and plan accordingly. And if you doubt Janine's method, having put it into practice for the last few days, I have received a special delivery of flowers ( completely unexpected as a thank you for community involvement) so maybe it really does mean that you can flow with the universe. I had tea at school today in aid of a charity and donated half a goat or 1/6th of a carpentry set of tools, ate cake that the children made and found it very enjoyable and satisfying. Can it be that simple?

I could apply that method to the harvest from my garden to : 60% to eat and share with others, 10% to preserve, 10% to share with the wildlife about me, 10% seeds for the future. Makes sense although I am still squishing the caterpillars because they are having more than their fair share.

Go give it a go and see what the rewards are. Let me know what the universe is giving you when you start giving your time.


Mimi said...

Thanks for the thought-provoking post. We've been trying to downsize and get rid of clutter...and, I'm sure I need to get rid of the things that are cluttering my day and keeping me from doing what I really would get more satisfaction from. I enjoy reading your post -- Thanks!

The Money Muse said...

Thanks so much for mentioning my books on your post. It is always the best compliment an author can hear when a reader says, "I've read your book!" That is so cool. Keep up the excellent work on your blog. What you have to say is so important for debt-free living and wealth accumulation. Being a fellow downshifter I totally love what you're doing. Have a great fall!

Janine Bolon

Downshiftingpath said...

I am bowled over Janine and touched about your comments.

The Money Muse said...

Ooooh, don't be! I pick tomatoes in scrubby jeans just like the next guy! Right? Stay good!!!