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Time Audit

There’s endless articles online about how to be savvy with finances. One suggestion is to create a clear budget. What percentage of your income are you spending on your housing? Utilities? Groceries? Etc. And while it seems quite obvious when we’re looking at a credit card statement, it’s also a useful experiment for another, arguably more valuable resource—our time.

Let’s look at the average Monday. 24 hours. Ideally, 8 of those are spent sleeping. 33%. Then, there’s the 8-hour work day for many folks. Another 33%. That leaves 8 hours. I can see what goes into my last 33%.

  • Miscellaneous household obligations like grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, or cooking.

  • Working out (and showering)

  • Studying and reading

  • Talking to loved ones

  • The Smile Project

Those are just a few of my “every single day” things that make up my last 8 hours during the work week. I could go a step further of course and see how much time I spend on each. How much time did I spend cooking or running or working on this blog post? What percentage of my day did I give to this?

There’s a lot of places I find myself wanting to go with this post but the one I keep coming back to is this idea of the time lining up to the goal. To jump back to the money example, if I tell everyone I’m saving up to go on an expensive vacation but then use a higher percentage of my income at the bookstore than the vacation fund, it’s clearly a misalignment of the goal and the action. Similarly, if I tell everyone that I want to write a book but spend 0% of my time doing anything that will move me toward that, how can I expect to achieve that?

Of course, this is written with the understanding that some days are definitely going to be 0% no matter what your goal is. It’s not about perfection. It’s about intention. It’s about taking the time to prioritize what matters most. And that starts with creating a time audit. You can start by asking yourself some of the following questions:

  • How am I currently spending my days?

  • What would I like to do less of?

  • What would I like to do more of?

  • What is no longer serving me and what would it mean to let it go?

  • Where would I like to be this time next year?

  • What is it going to take to get there?

  • Is xxx moving me closer to my goal?

  • Is yyy hindering my ability to achieve my goal?

There’s a great quote I had taped to my bedroom wall all through high school that said something along the lines of: if you find yourself going in the wrong direction, don’t speed up.

It takes tremendous courage to stop and regroup. To realize you might not be on the right track. To take an audit of where things are and where things need to be. It takes even more courage to then implement a plan of course correction.

But surely it is better to be on the right path than to take off without direction.


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