5 Tips to Build a Free Time Savings Account

Save Time Today to Use as Free Time When Needed

This is a guest post by Jessica Shields, a college professor and founder of College Study Smarts. Her goal is to take the mystery out of college by showing students how to be productive with study time and stay motivated to keep working towards their degree.

You’ve heard the saying that time is money, but have you ever consider time as an actual asset? Like a dollar, each minute is a tiny commodity that can be spent, saved, or invested.

How we choose to spend or save time today affects the quality of life we have in the future. Spending time right now on a video game may mean scrambling tomorrow to create that presentation last-minute at work. Likewise, spending time today on the presentation can mean some free time before the presentation to relax and grab a coffee.

Are you working paycheck-to-paycheck, always finishing tasks at the last minute and scrambling to make time for what you want to do?

Or are you a saver, banking future free time by working ahead today so that you can spend time at a future date doing what you love?

Time Spent Today Means Free Time Tomorrow

Considering free time as an asset to be used now or later, you can prepare for unexpected setbacks. No, you can’t actually bank minutes to have more than 24-hours tomorrow, but you can work now so that there is free time at a later date. When you decide to work now, you are banking your free time for later.

This is our free time savings account and it can be used to intentionally do something enjoyable or to handle an illness or major life event. Life doesn’t give fair warning, so it is smart to have a free time savings account to handle the unexpected.

To stay on top of your commitments and lower regular stress levels, you must work ahead.

If you develop the flu tomorrow, will you be able to take the time to rest and recuperate or have to work through it to meet a deadline? The answer to that depends on how you are spending or saving free time today. A saver works ahead and is able to take time off from work to rest during an illness without the stress of missed commitments.

Or maybe a last-minute ticket is available for your favorite band and you desperately want to go. With free time in your savings, you can choose to rock out with your band tonight knowing that you aren’t letting another responsibility down.

Here are 5 tips to help you build a free-time savings account:

  1. Set mini goals – Break large tasks into smaller mini goals that are easier to plan for. Space these out leading up to a deadline.
  2. Plan ahead – Know when everything needs to be done and have a realistic plan to get it done on time. This also means planning time off to relax.
  3. Set personal deadlines early – If a work assignment is due on Friday, set your personal deadline for Wednesday. This gives you buffer and prevents the last-minute scramble.
  4. Work ahead – Make use of unexpected free time like a canceled meeting to complete another task early.
  5. Be intentional in spending free time – Don’t forget time to relax. Sometimes we need to cash in a little free time right now to keep us going into tomorrow.

Review Your Time Budget

Look at your calendar for the next week. Do you have a specific plan to get everything done? If not, make one today!

Do this every week and you will not only stay on top of your commitments but start working ahead so that you have a safe buffer of time savings for when life throws an unexpected curveball.

Question: Do you have a “free time savings account?” If not, what would it take for you to start one? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Invest just 10 minutes a day toward the right ideas, behaviors and strategies to finally be more productive at work…so you can spend less time there! 31 Days, 31 Ways: Daily Tips for Time Management Mastery is my time management course, containing 31 powerful daily lessons and 31 actionable exercises designed to help you take action, reduce stress, and reclaim your time. Click here to learn more.

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5 thoughts on “5 Tips to Build a Free Time Savings Account

  1. This is a great idea, and it would also be helpful to track the # of hours of free time you’re so that you can “make a withdrawal” later rather than just filling in our time with more work, as people often do. And that might also help you track how much you have accomplished each day, too. Many times we reach the end of the day or he week without realizing how much work we have actually done.

    • Those are great ideas, Garth! Tracking your time for even a day can be truly enlightening. I agree that we often don’t realize where our time is being spent. Awareness about where it is really going and intention about where we want to spend it makes a huge difference.