Just like Dave Ramsey has you use cash envelopes for your spending budgets, we can reserve envelopes of time for our various responsibilities across the week.

Rather than scheduling 20 minutes for folding laundry, 10 minutes for sweeping, and so forth for every task we have on our list, we can look at our days and weeks as a whole and reserve chunks of time for types of tasks. Then when that chunk of time begins, we can assess the current state of things and decide what comes first and what’s next.

Get this handy template for figuring out your own time budget.

Time Budget Tips

Rather than think – I’ll create a system that will make sure my children ALWAYS have their shoes and ALWAYS have clean faces and neatly brushed hair – I’ve tried and those systems never last long in real life. Instead, plan on 30 minutes “prep” time before heading out the door, and also keep a list of short tasks you can get done if your prep time was only 10 minutes – or, just arrive early or return the library books on the way or clean out the car for 5-10 minutes if you didn’t need the budgeted time.

Whatever it looks like for you, build margin around your activities as much as possible and allow time for children to be children and for people to be late and for snacks to be required or toys to be picked up. If we expect little setbacks and we have time enough to just roll with them, we won’t feel so worn out and stretched thin.

A week is never going to play out the way we budget our time, but it’s still a valuable exercise because as we mark out the time commitments we have, we start to see where we have margin, where we need to create margin, and perhaps why things like grocery shopping or phone calls are so stressful – there’s no place for them in the flow of our week!

As we start filling in the overview of our weeks with our commitments and responsibilities, we also need to keep an eye on whether or not we have healthy amounts of rest built into our weeks. We can’t function in go-go-go mode all day, every day.

Read more about my time budgets

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