Katie Byrne: Those who spend their money wisely tend to spend their time wisely too
As somebody who hasn't quite got to grips with budgeting, I'm always trying to glean pointers from people who are better at balancing the books.
Until recently, the money lessons I learned from more frugal types were fairly obvious. They write a budget at the beginning of the month. They pay themselves first by lodging a fixed amount of money to their savings account on payday. And they don't buy three takeaway coffees a day.
In the last few weeks, however, I've realised something else that the financially savvy do differently: They spend their time wisely, just as they spend their money wisely.
Time and money are both finite resources, so it makes sense that people who are good at managing their money are, invariably, good at managing their time too.
Think about it: The person who says 'Where did the day go?!' is generally the person who can't account for the €50 that they drew from the ATM this morning.Likewise, the person who invests his money shrewdly is, by and large, the person who invests his time in meaningful pursuits that will pay back in the future.
We all have finite resources to manage - money, time and energy being the big three. What's interesting is that the same behaviour pattern tends to dictate our management of all of them.
With this in mind, let's take a look at time-management strategies that apply to money management too...
⬤ Develop a better relationship with time
Pick up any of the recent books on money management and it won't be long before the author delves into the importance of acknowledging your emotional relationship with money. The new guard of financial experts argue that we can't make money until we explore the unconscious beliefs that we have around it.
It's much the same with time: we can't get better at managing it until we understand our relationship with it.
Do you feel like you're always in a race against time or do you feel like you have all the time in the world? As a general rule, hyper-organised and ambitious Type A personalities tend to be more time-conscious, while laid-back and loose Type B personalities tend to be less time-conscious.
In fact, these personality types even experience time differently. In a series of trials exploring time perception, researchers from San Diego State University found that Type A individuals estimated that a minute passed in 58 seconds, compared with 77 seconds for Type B individuals.
In other words, if you're a Type B personality with poor time management skills, you might want to start giving yourself approximately 30pc more time to get things done.
⬤ Work out your time budget
Those who avoid budgeting at the beginning of the month generally want to avoid the cash flow shortfalls that they may be facing. They prefer to wing it - even if they overspend time and time again.
It's much the same with people who don't draw up a time budget: they know they have less time available than they have tasks to do. Nonetheless, they push on in the hope that they can magically squeeze a day's work into three hours.
If your money management skills are lacking, you'll know by now that a monthly budget is imperative. Likewise, if your time management skills are lacking, a time budget will reveal where you are over-stretching yourself.
⬤ Make time tangible
Financial experts advise us to spend with cash rather than card if we want to curtail our spending. The swipe of a card is quick and painless, whereas handing over cold, hard cash makes us much more aware of the cost of whatever it is we are buying.
We can apply this principle to our management of time too. If you're always bemoaning the lack of hours in a day, set a timer for eight hours when you sit down at your desk in the morning. It's a visual reminder of just how much time you have.
Otherwise, you could try using coins or tokens to represent how many hours you have for a certain task. Yes, it sounds silly, but it's hard not to put a value on time when it's stacked up in front of you.
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