I have been budgeting my money for over a year now – keeping everything electronically balanced and tracked, graphing it so I can watch the impact of every CD and shopping trip.
After an entire year of watching my savings ebb and flow on a daily basis I feel as though I finally understand my money – even if I’m not always in control of it. I know exactly what I can and cannot do if I want to save $50 more a month, or $100. There is no mystery as to where my money is spent.
Having finally managed to take control of my spending, I thought, Why not my time? After all, what other commodity is more precious than the almighty dollar, and just as readily wasted?
It started out simple, four categories: rest, work, study/rehearsal, and leisure. The quadrants were concise, but not tidy. Doing laundry was placed incongruously into study/rehearsal. And, is eating dinner leisure?
Slowly I expanded the sheet to accommodate the more realistic shape of my day. Morning routines, evening commutes, theatre rehearsal, and internet use. Plus, laundry and eating dinner.
After two weeks of tracking I now have a beautiful graph, color coded and displaying the ten things I spend the *most* time doing. I spend a fifth of my life at work, and a third of it sleeping! That’s half of my life blown in just two dull categories. And, well, I can’t really work less, but I can certainly sleep less.
There were other surprises. Sometimes you think you just spend a few minutes a day doing something, not realizing that that adds up to 3% of your entire life. On the flip side, you might think you’re spending enough time practicing or studying or exercising, but in the grand scheme of things it’s hardly a drop in the bucket.
I won’t pretend that my beautiful rainbow graph is going to keep me from watching a half a season of Buffy at a time, or force me to feverishly practice my songs until my fingers blister. At least, though, when I’m doing either of those things, I’ll know exactly what they’re worth to me.