For those of us with school age children, it’s the time of year when many things come to an end. It’s the end of the spring sports season. After months of practices and games, our evening and weekend calendars are finally starting to free up. It’s also the end of another school year. Posts of graduation pictures and commencement speeches by famous people with words of wisdom, flood our social media feeds. There is the joy of accomplishment with an underlying bittersweet sadness of it all being over. It’s also the time of new beginnings, with the possibilities that only summer can bring. And if there is a wedding “season”, this would be it, with people coming together in celebration over new beginnings.
The central theme to all of this is the passage of time. Which led me to think about the phrase – how are you spending your time? It’s a phrase we toss around without much thought, but what if we break it down? What if we thought about spending time like we spend our money?
If this were true, would you spend your time on other things? Financially you have a budget and know that a percentage of your money goes to the mortgage, bills, food, clothing, entertainment, etc. What would your time budget look like? What percentage of your day is spent on necessities? I’ll classify necessities as things that you have to do like dishes, laundry, etc. None of these things are a super fun way to spend your time, but they have to be done. It’s kind of like paying for electricity, you’d rather spend that money on something else, but you also can’t fumble around in the dark, so it’s money you need to spend.
After you get the necessities out of the way, how do you decide what you spend your time on next? Is it based on the person – i.e. I spend my time with my kids because they need me? Or is it based on the task that you need to get done? It may vary from day to day, but it’s an interesting thought to consider.
As you go about your day spending your time, do you ever put your wallet away and stop spending? (Yes, I know that you cannot stop time, so in theory you are always spending your time, even when you are sleeping, but go with me on this one.) Another way of saying this may be that you take a break and stop giving your time. That you stop and keep your time for yourself. What percentage of your time budget goes to that?
As you look over your time budget, what is your R.O.I. (Return on Investment)? Are you getting the return you want from all this spending? At the end of the day, do you feel like you spent wisely? Or do you feel like you spent frivolously on little trinkets that look special in the moment but just become clutter in the long run?
We have the opportunity of a three-day weekend, an “extra” day of spending. What will your budget look like?
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I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.