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Have you ever had a day off when you planned on marking a few items off your to-do list, only to realize it was 6 in the evening and you spent the last 5 hours watching reruns of Lost, The Office, or Downton Abbey? I’ll be honest– I’ve found myself in this situation a time or two, and I’ve always wished I could start the day over again.

During the last few years, I have learned a great deal about personal finance and the importance of telling my money what to do. While “budget” may be considered a four-letter word to many people, the idea of telling your money where it will go rather than having it just dwindle away empowers people to take control of their financial lives. It’s called being intentional— having a distinct purpose, or being deliberate with a resource (your money).

When we think of our resources, the two that most often come to mind are money and time. If money can be budgeted to achieve a desired outcome, can we do the same with our time? The truth is, time will continue to pass, regardless of what we do. What goals and dreams can we achieve if we are intentional with our time? Here are 3 strategies I believe will help you to live intentionally by managing your time:

  1. Assign time in your calendar before the day arrives. Just like assigning money with a budget, assigning time on a calendar will empower you to be intentional with your time. What I have found to be helpful is to plan my week every Sunday evening. I like to look at my goals and see what steps I can take that week to assist in achieving those goals. Then, I make sure to “budget” time by inserting those steps into my calendar for the week.
  2. Be sure to insert spots in your calendar to spend time with family and friends. People who are  entrepreneurs or have an achievement mentality will often look at their goals and fill their calendars completely full in an attempt to “achieve that much more.” Don’t forget to invest in your relationships, and be intentional by inserting time in your calendar to do so.
  3. Don’t give up if you don’t stick to your schedule perfectly. Similar to a monetary budget, people often fail the first few times they budget their time. I know I failed miserably in the beginning of my “time budgeting” process, especially when it came to my lofty aspirations of waking up at 5 every morning. The important thing is to not give up and start the next day fresh.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. How will you begin?

Have you ever considered budgeting your time, and if so, how has your experience been? You can leave a comment here.