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Budgeting Your Time

Updated: Nov 2, 2021

If you can budget money, you can budget time.


by Penn Clark

I'm not sure where I first saw this idea. Perhaps, it was at a Bill Gothard seminar many years ago, but I heard the idea about budgeting our time the same way we budget our finances. Think of it the same way as you would a financial budget; you may not always adhere to it, but at least you have something in place to compare your spending with and you always have a set goal to come back to. I have tried to do this through the years, with mixed results.

Here is how this looks, in theory, anyway:

- There are 7 days a week, 24 hours in each day, which equals 168 hours a week.

- If we slept a full 8 hours a night, we would need to subtract 56 hours from the 168 we started with. This would leave 112 hours for other essentials.

- Let’s budget 45 hours a week for work, allowing time for travel.

- Let’s give ourselves 2 hours a day for eating. This should be enjoyed and done at a slower pace. If we fast one day a week, we can move these 2 hours into another category.

- We need at least 4 hours a week for personal things such as taking a shower and getting dressed each day.

- This leaves a total of 63 hours. Subtract this from the 112 hours for essentials. This would still leave us 49 hours a week to do something else with.

- Let’s subtract 12 hours a week right off the top to reserve as a Sabbath day. This would involve going to church, but it also includes giving ourselves over to deeper spiritual exercises. It may also include a good nap. (49 – 12 = 37)

- Let’s give ourselves a full hour a day each workday for devotions. (We have already included time for this in our Sabbath day.) This would still leave 31 hours to use for other things. (37 – 6 = 31)

- So let’s give ourselves an hour a day for reading a magazine or watching the news. You can even watch a good documentary on TV, using 6 hours in a week. (31 – 6 = 25)

- We should all go to our small group meeting, which lasts about 2 hours each week. (25 – 2 = 23)

- Let’s all give our spouse 30 minutes a day to talk to each other. (This is over and above meal times.) We could sit on the porch or go for a walk. This would total 3.5 hours a week.This would still leave you over 19 hours a week to find something else to do. (23 - 3.5 = 19.5)

- Let’s make it a point to have someone over at least once a week. Let’s say we begin at 7:00 p.m. and go to 10:00 p.m. If we had them over for dinner, it could come out of our eating time that we scheduled. (19.5 - 3 = 16.5)

- Let’s get down and play with the kids or help them do homework for 2 hours after supper. This would only take 12 hours a week. Not bad when we consider the average dad spends about 12 minutes a week with his kids. (This is over and above the time spent with them at meals, and anything we include them in that has been mentioned above.) If we don’t have kids at home right now, use the 12 hours a week to serve the Lord in some other way. Subtract 12 hours from the 16, and that would leave you with over 4 hours to do something with. (16.5 – 12 = 4.5)

- What are we going to do with these 4 hours a week? Mow grass, shovel snow, wash the car? You can go for a hike during the week. You could join a gym or play a sport. You can spend it at the library easily enough. In fact, you can squander it anyway you like!

TOTAL. Let’s review how we spent our week:

- We slept a good 8 hours a night,

- We worked a full 45 hours a week,

- We took time each day to eat slowly,

- We had a nice shower each day and took our time to dress,

- We each had a full restful Sabbath day,

- We all had a full hour each day for devotions,

- We read or watched a bit of news on TV,

- We went to our small group,

- We gave our spouse 30 minutes a day just to talk,

- We each had someone over at least once a week,

- We got down to play with the kids a couple hours each night,

- And we still had a bit of time to squander in the end!

While I realize life doesn’t present itself in such timely order as listed here, this idea does show there can be time each week for resting, if we have the desire to build around these priorities.

“Budgeting Your Time” is from my book, Jesus Is Still Making Disciples Today.

2021 Copyright by Penn Clark Please ask for permission before you publish.

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