Two weeks ago we looked at the best gift to give your partner (hint: it’s not losing 10-30pds, although that’s not always a bad idea). This week I’m going to look at the best gift to give yourself, and sorry, it’s not a Porche. Just like last time, this will involve a calendar. Calendars are waaaay better than most people realize. Google calendars and the like are good for their purpose of reminders, but for this activity I’m suggesting getting a good old fashioned paper calendar. Find one that makes you smile and feel good. I receive a free calendar from Mirvish, which has pictures of Broadway plays. I love it because… it’s free, but also because theatre makes me happy. This gift you’re going to give yourself is going to take some thinking (my apologies) because it involves… budgeting. How sexy is that word? Right, not at all: (lame husband) “Hey baby, tonight want to budget our books and check out each other’s figures?” Most people hate the word budget because we see it as a constraint that holds us back. In reality, a budget can be very liberating. This post is about budgeting time and not money, but quickly, as far as money goes, budgets are the best thing we can have to reduce anxiety about finances. In my book, Emotional Sex: Making Good Relationships Great, I discuss the best way to budget… which I don’t use. My personal budgeting strategy isn’t for most people: Don’t spend unless you desperately have to and then be as cheap as possible. It doesn’t lead to feeling free to enjoy money, but it works for me and my position of an inconsistent paycheck. Thus, I recommend my brother’s smarter way of budgeting. He’s a certified nerd… I mean accountant. His plan helps him and his wife (also an accountant… yes, they’re as nerdy as you’re thinking… I can write that since being a nerd is cool now), and they paid off their first house in three years. That’s pretty darn impressive.
BUTTTTTT today’s blog isn’t about money; you can check out my book for that. The best gift you can give yourself is to BUDGET your TIME. Too often life passes by and we’re left thinking there’s never enough time to do everything or we get distracted with things that prevent us from doing what we ultimately want to do. This is not meant to make you a slave to your calendar, but give you a foundation for how you want to live. There is always flexibility within a schedule, especially if goals change as unexpected opportunities arise. This activity will make saying NO easier to the wrong things and YES to the right things. It eliminates guilt and helps you see what’s fair to get done. It removes unfair expectations of ourselves and life, which reduces the risk of anxiety and depression. We ultimately need healthy expectations… another section in my book… my book is the second best gift you can give yourself… at least in my opinion because I want the royalties… which I jokingly write… kind of, anyway.
TASK: On your calendar answer and/or consider these questions:
- By the end of the year, what do I want to have accomplished?
- By the end of each month, what do I need to do to achieve my end of the year goals
- How many times will I work out each week? For instance, my goal is three times, and each week is a new start for achieving my goal. It’s easy and measureable. If I miss one week I can restart the next. Saying you’re going to exercise is just setting yourself up for failure unless you have a more specific plan in mind.
- When are date nights?
- What does social time look like? (e.g. sports, church, clubs, etc.)
- How often should I see friends and family?
- When are drinking and/or treat times allowed each week or month?
- When do I clean the house? Do laundry? Big spring cleans?
- What extra chore will I do each season? For instance, in the winter my mom will repaint a room in her house to keep things fresh and in the summer she would tend gardens.
- When and where can we travel time and money wise?
****Bonus: What don’t I have time for?
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Rev. Chad David, www.chaddavid.ca, learning to love dumb people