By Karen Vaughn, MEd, LPC, CEAP, SAP
Employees often come to EAP wanting help with time management. In reality, they come wanting help with other issues and many times the root of their problem is time management. I want you to take a minute and think about how or if you manage your money. When we don’t manage our finances well, we can feel powerless, frustrated, and overwhelmed. These feelings can lead to anxiety and depression. These same feelings can come over us when we don’t manage our time well.
Time management is about more than just writing a to-do list of goals and objectives. I’ve found when employees add the extra step of time allocation, it helps tremendously.
Time allocation is the process of distributing time within your day to the activities that need to be done. For example, when you create a financial budget for your monthly expenses you allocate a certain amount or percentage of your total income for each purpose. With a time budget you do the same thing for the total hours in a day.
The trick to creating a realistic budget is to know exactly what you spend your money or time on. The first step is to keep a log of activities. When I help someone create a financial budget I always ask them to keep a spending diary and write down everything they spend their money on. By creating a log, you will get the most accurate reflection of where your money goes; not where you think it goes or where you would like it to go.
To create a time budget, begin by keeping an activity log of all tasks and activities you do during the day (meetings, writing, bathroom break, social media, vending machine, etc.) Once you know where your time goes you can start to allocate minutes and hours to those activities by scheduling each activity in a time slot. Set a timer to make sure you stay within your allotted time when completing each task or activity.
I know that unexpected things come up, so don’t forget to put some time savings away for a rainy day. The same way you put a portion of your income into savings, save a portion of your daily or weekly time for the unexpected.
To learn more about budgeting your time to feel more in control of your work-life balance, please give EAP a call.