Budgeting your money and budgeting your time have more in common than you think. They’re both precious resources that are easy to waste and worth saving when you can. Some of the most basic principles of time management can be applied to your finances to make your budget more streamlined, efficient, and productive. Decide how to save and spend your money using the same techniques you use to save and spend your time.
The basic rules of managing time can be applied to managing money, as well.
Time Management Principle #1: Do a Little Bit, Often
One of the most basic rules of time management is not to overwhelm yourself with a mountain of tasks that seem unattainable. Focus on a single, doable job, and do it. Once it’s done, move on to the next. Break up big tasks into a series of smaller tasks. Doing small things often reduces to-do lists to nothing in no time.
Apply it to Finance
When it comes to saving – whether it’s for your business’s expansion or simply to boost profits – putting aside a little bit on a consistently frequent basis is the surest way to turn a little pile of savings into a lot.
Time Management Principle #2: Get – and Stay – Organized
Cluttered space, cluttered mind, cluttered life. When it comes to time management, keeping both your work and personal spaces organized and orderly, with a place for everything and everything in its place, is one of the most basic principles of not letting the minutes and hours and days slowly drip away.
Apply it to Finance
Filing your invoices as they come in, always using your checks in the right numerical order, having a master calendar with all your due dates, keeping hard copies in alphabetical order of all your employees’ payroll and tax information, keeping your payroll records chronologically stacked for easy pulling – all of these are prime candidates for “I’ll do it tomorrow.” Tomorrow never comes. Bad organization leads to clutter, frustration, and mistakes.
Time Management Principle #3: Make Commitments, Not Wish Lists
If you’d like to write a screenplay, you almost certainly never will if you hope for it to happen one day. You must commit to write a screenplay ready to be pitched in eight months, or whatever time you decide. Hoping for something in the abstract and sort of working toward it is a sure way to become the greatest screenplay writer that never was. Commit to something big and then, as previously state, break it down into small, manageable chunks.
Applying it to Finance
Whether you want to open a second location in a new city for your restaurant or simply save enough to put a wireless credit card machine in your gourmet tea store, it’s not enough to want it as a long-term goal. Virtually all business wish lists come down to capital. Make a commitment – and add a hard-and-fast date to the end of that commitment – and the money will be much more likely to follow you to the finish line.
Getting organized is a foundational key to good time – and money – management.
Money and time are the two most precious commodities a businessperson has – and they’re often wasted with the same mistakes or saved with the same techniques. Harness the most basic techniques of time management and apply them to your finances, and soon you’ll have more of both to spend on the things you need.
Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about small business management, personal finance, and budgeting.
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