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Not Enough Hours in the Day – An Example of Time Management

April 1, 2011 · 26 comments

in Life

The following is a guest post from Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff, where she writes about finding the balance between paying your bills, saving for your future, and budgeting in the fun stuff along the way.

For those of you who haven’t met me yet, hi, my name is Crystal and I am a blogging addict.  I started in February 2010 and quickly realized I wanted to pursue it as my full time career.  It’s just so much fun to interact with so many people and the relationships I’ve developed with people like Kris are invaluable to me.

Of course, while I create my online income streams, I am also balancing my day job and all of my blogging activities.  I’m stretched pretty thin voluntarily, which has led me to learn how to prioritize my time.

Time prioritization is just like prioritizing my spending.  I only have so much time in a day, so I eventually had to start cutting back on some things to make room for others.

When I realized I had to make some tough decisions last November, I made a list of all of my time-consuming activities to see what needed to go:

Daily Activities 2010 – Monday-Friday

  1. Getting ready in the morning – 30 minutes
  2. Work – 9 hours
  3. Commenting on other blogs – 2 hours
  4. Blog email – 1 hour
  5. Yakezie forums (blogging group) – 1 hour
  6. Dinner with my husband – at least 30 minutes
  7. Answering comments – 30 minutes
  8. Dog chores like feeding and giving Mr. Pug all of his medicines – 30 minutes
  9. House chores like the dishes and laundry – 30 minutes
  10. Family and friends email and calls – 30 minutes
  11. Writing Posts – 1 hour
  12. TV – 4 hours
  13. Exercise like walking – 10 minutes
  14. Getting ready for the next day – 20 minutes
  15. Sleep – 8 hours

Just so you don’t have to break out a calculator, that grand total came to 27.5 hours.  I was trying to fit in an extra 3.5 hours to my day and was wondering why I wasn’t sleeping as much as usual, why I had stopped exercising completely, why I couldn’t remember the shows we had just watched, and why I always seemed hurried.

Since that day, I’ve scaled back to a more balanced day.

Daily Activities Now – Monday-Friday

  1. Getting ready in the morning – 30 minutes
  2. Work – 9 hours
  3. Family and friends email and calls – 30 minutes
  4. Dinner with my husband – at least 30 minutes
  5. Answering comments – 20 minutes
  6. Dog chores like feeding and giving Mr. Pug all of his medicines – 30 minutes
  7. House chores like the dishes and laundry – 10 minutes
  8. Blog email – 1 hour
  9. Yakezie forums (blogging group) – 1 hour
  10. Writing Posts – 1 hour
  11. Exercise like walking – 30 minutes
  12. Commenting on other blogs – 30  minutes
  13. Getting ready for the next day – 30 minutes
  14. Sleep – 8 hours

That actually adds up to 24 hours!  Notice that I’ve pretty much given up watching TV unless it’s on in the background while I’m doing something blog-related.   I’ve also scaled back on commenting on other blogs quite a bit.  That has forced me to read fewer blogs, but I’m developing closer relationships too.  I’ve also added actual exercise time to my day (which I do sometimes follow through on, lol) and have a few more minutes to myself just to get my thoughts and clothes ready for the another day.

Before anyone asks, both of those schedules are obviously guesstimates of my time.  I don’t cut off my friends or family in mid-conversation at the 30 minute mark or anything like that.   (From Kris:  I am glad you did not cut off this post mid-way, thank you…) I also usually get 7-ish hours of sleep instead of 8 on the dot.  But the overall point of the schedules was successful – I was able to show myself where I was spending my time and make an actual effort to change it.

Yes, I am still balancing two jobs and am pretty busy, but I feel calmer about it all.  My weekends are usually spent with friends and family and I don’t have to worry about wasted time while I am trying to relax.  My best bet is that even my most stressful day now is healthier than a normal one towards the end of last year.

How do you prioritize your time?  Have you found any tricks to balancing it all?

From Kris:  How do you avoid burnout!?  If I had a schedule like Crystal’s, I would probably lose my mind.  Thank you Crystal for the guest post!

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Centavos April 1, 2011 at 6:59 am

Giving up TV is one of the great things one can do to increase personal productivity. If you think about it, we’re just sitting there on the couch doing exactly nothing. That is one hectic, jam-packed schedule! Makes me tired just reading about it.


Crystal @ BFS April 1, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Makes me tired too, but I keep in mind what I’m working towards and feel better. 🙂


thrifty cheapskate April 1, 2011 at 11:30 am

My day is somewhat like yours, my work is hunting for items to sell on the Internet and then putting them up for sale and mailing out. I have the TV on while I am home working. It is hard to stretch everything in a day.
I am also interested in my genealogy and my blog there so I have a busy day.
I do enjoy reading your schedule and your goals for your blogging. Before the start of the year I did a plan of my day also of course every day is different so some days that plan goes out the window Grace


Crystal @ BFS April 1, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Definitely, some days I keep up with my schedule way better than others. I think that’s just a normal thing of life. 🙂

I’ve recently started cataloguing my grandpa’s memories of the mid-1930’s and on and have been getting to know my family’s history better…


retirebyforty April 1, 2011 at 11:55 am

My day is getting more and more crazy as well. We don’t watch much TV anymore, just Jeopardy at 7pm during dinner. 🙂
Blogging is such a time sink, it’s unbelievable.


Crystal @ BFS April 1, 2011 at 1:04 pm

I know! In the beginning, blogging only took the time I wanted to give it, but now it has gotten a mind of its own, lol.


Jeff @ Sustainable Life Blog April 1, 2011 at 2:15 pm

I feel you here crystal it seems like once you find something you really enjoy doing, you start to throw all of your time at it, at the expense of other things. It’s difficult to find balance, but worth it!


Crystal @ BFS April 3, 2011 at 3:28 pm

I figure that I’ll start scaling back a little more 2-3 days a week and fit in volunteer time again. Then, when I so start blogging full time, I’ll be able to up those volunteer hours. I miss them…just not as much as I love blogging, lol. 🙂


krantcents April 1, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Apparently, you are more efficient than I am with blogging! I spend nearly as much time blogging as I do working. I find lists help me be more effective, but still cannot replace the time it takes to just get through it. I still enjoy it, but I find it a roller coaster of sorts. There are ups and downs like any business.


Crystal @ BFS April 3, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Nope, I’m not more efficient. I just didn’t point out that I also fit in a lot of blogging at work, lol. 😉


Keith Dennis April 1, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Thanks for the post! I have been making a list for every work day of the week. I only do that work and urgent things that come up during the week. It helps me keep to my long term goals.

Keeping to the list also helps me get my work done faster and allows “home” time to be more relaxed. I schedule a blanket – 3 hours to do nothing but hang out each day with the family. During that time I can relax because I have everything written down, completed or not, and I don’t have to worry about it.



Crystal @ BFS April 3, 2011 at 3:30 pm

I saw you mentioned lists at my blog too! I love that idea and am incorporating it into my own life in the next week or two!!! I also need to schedule in a few hours where blogging and working aren’t part of it…


Len Penzo April 2, 2011 at 12:49 pm

I see you’ve chosen to let your house get a bit messier, Crystal. Glad to see you’ve got those priorities in order. 😉

(You know I kid, Girlfriend.)

Seriously, this post has inspired me to figure out how much time I spend every day. I’m just not sure I want to know how badly I’ve been neglecting some things…

All the best,

Len Penzo dot Com


Crystal @ BFS April 3, 2011 at 3:32 pm

My husband actually just finished his masters program last semester and started picking up with helping with the chores, so we manage to keep our house just picked up enough that our biweekly housekeeper doesn’t quit on us or raise our rates…


Kevin@InvestItWisely April 2, 2011 at 8:10 pm

I barely watch TV these days, either, but something in the schedule still doesn’t add up! Surely the chores take longer than 10 minutes and 30 mins of eating doesn’t include cooking time too, does it?

I’m trying to be more efficient with my own time, the one true scarce resource for all of us.


Crystal @ BFS April 3, 2011 at 3:36 pm

My husband cooks (in fact, he hates my cooking so I’m banned from making anything but sides and desserts, lol). The 10 minutes is usually loading the dishwasher, lol.

We have a biweekly housekeeper (Jacqui is our awesome British maid) for $60 a pop. She takes care of all the big stuff like sweeping, mopping, dusting, and cleaning the bathrooms. I’d highly suggest getting help to any busy people I know, lol.


Paula @ AffordAnything.org April 2, 2011 at 8:42 pm

One of my favorite time-management tactics is to set an eggtimer or stopwatch before starting a task. While I’m working, I get the sense that I’m racing against the clock, and when the buzzer goes off — boom, I’m done, and I either have to wrap up the project or make the conscious decision to set the timer for another 5-10-15 minutes.


Crystal @ BFS April 3, 2011 at 3:37 pm

That’s simply ingenious. I tried that today and it cut back my article editing time a good 10 minutes for each post!


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MyATM Holdings April 3, 2011 at 5:35 am

I don’t have a list like this. Maybe it’s about time I should make a list of what to do on a daily basis. But sometimes it gets boring when my day is very predictable. I like to change schedules but I still manage my time smoothly. Thanks for sharing this.


Crystal @ BFS April 3, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Oh, no worries. This is just my guesstimate of an average day. It changes based on what my life requires of me and I don’t mind. I’m definitely not a slave to it, lol.


Barb Friedberg May 8, 2011 at 9:27 am

Yikes-I’m impressed you can get ready in 30 minutes. Also, how do you get away with 30 minutes of housework? Is hubby doing A LOT? I love this type of info.


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