Frugal Pack Challenge – Audit Your Time
Hello frugal pack readers! I’m excited to announce the very first frugal pack challenge today!
For those of you new to the blog, we are looking to optimize our lives to find happiness aligned with our values. I know I struggle with happiness, but over time I’ve worked to balance my days between work and play. Having both is truly what leads to a well-rounded life, but it can be easy to push one of these out of priority in times of stress or joy. It’s also easy to dream of the future and all the happiness you will have because you are suffering or working so hard today. Unfortunately, if you don’t develop the skills to create happiness in the suffering, life post financial independence (FI) likely won’t be any happier.
Pursuing financial independence brings so many opportunities to optimize your life. While it may be easiest to focus on the money side of things, there are many (more important) other things to optimize. Pursuing FI means being weirdos about many things (not just frugal weirdos). So, evaluate your limiting beliefs and determine if you want to muster out any other efficiencies.
Regardless of which side of FI you are on, time is limiting. We only get a certain amount of days on this earth, so wishing them away isn’t a good idea.
I’m victim to this too, and have caught myself looking towards early 2020 (likely FI date), wishing it was closer. It makes a lot of sense, I spend time writing about retirement, tweeting about it, on the forums, listening to podcasts, and picking up side hustles to bring that date closer. It’s hard to resist working for the weekend, but there are things to enjoy every single day of your life. And I’m amazed by how much time I’ve discovered just by focusing on living my retirement now (while annoyingly stuck in a cube most of the day…hey, even in retirement there will be annoyances – get used to it).
But, enough inane ramblings, what am I really trying to say? Well, this week I want to refocus my energies, not on frugality, which I talk about all the time here, but on optimizing and enjoying my time.
And so brings on the first frugal pack challenge – Audit Your Time!
I know, when I use thrilling words like audit I’ve got your attention! Now, let’s all track our time!
My days in consulting taught me how easy it is to let time slip away without really getting anything accomplished. This week, yes for a whole week, track how you are spending your time! I recommend breaking the day down into thirty minute increments and categorizing your time by what you were actually doing for the bulk of the time. Such as, did you sit down to read a book, but then get engrossed in the latest gossip on your Facebook feed? Then write down Facebook. The important thing is that you are honest with yourself. Nobody else is going to judge you or see your results (unless you choose to share them that is). Another option would be to write down the start time when you switch activities (i.e. 7:10 Pinterest to promote this post, but I was on it for 20 minutes (much longer than necessary to pin it a few times)). You don’t need to insert the comments, but it’s your logging, do what works for you!
At the end of each day reflect on your spreadsheet or notebook, whatever (I’m not judging you if you are into FIRE, but don’t automatically put everything into spreadsheet form). Did you enjoy your day? Did you feel like you didn’t have enough time to get everything accomplished? Did you laugh, think, and cry, and thus have a full day? What aligned with your values and what didn’t?
Finally, if this week is especially out of the norm, like you are on vacation or at a work conference you only go to once per year, then wait a week until you are doing more normal activities!
Afterwards, I’m going to review where my time actually goes and make some changes. Heck during the week, I’ll probably make some changes. There’s no need to delay improving my lifestyle and aligning it more closely to my values now!
Thanks for joining me on this challenge! And sign up for my email list to make sure you don’t miss the update next week! (You can always unsubscribe later.)
*Don’t hold me to this! I have the best intentions! I plan on having so much fun time tracking, that I may forget! Hopefully, though, I’ll contribute great morsels of insight!