In my own recent coaching session, my coach Louise and I, were discussing challenges I’d been having trying to manage multiple projects which had meant that some things (like writing articles) weren’t getting done.

It can become stressful, when there are many, many things that you could be doing and are not sure where to start.  It can become overwhelming.  As a result, we can waste time putting things off or trying to decide; time that we could be using actually getting things done.

We’re encouraged to do things quickly and several things at once.  And technology means that we have more interruptions from email, text, What’s App, that prompt us to react to all the things happening around us.  We can become distracted and end up doing things when they suddenly become urgent.  Whilst some pressure can be motivating, too much can be mentally and physically exhausting.  We begin to miss things or make mistakes.

During our conversation, Louise reminded me that I’ve often spoken about time as being like money.  You choose how to spend both.

It may have been through my accounting training, that I know the importance of good financial management.  This is now especially important with our Foundation projects – our scholarships, mentoring programme, cycling club and field centre.  Like any organisation, we have a limited amount of money and we need to decide how best to use these funds.  How much do we spend and on which projects?

Here’s my approach to money …I set out a financial budget for each project, so that we know all the likely costs involved; then I compare that to the funds available and agree with each project manager exactly how much money they have to spend each month.  They have some flexibility on spending but are learning that there is no more money.  Once it’s gone, it’s gone.  If they want or need more, then they have to find extra funds locally.

This is vital for any business or project; with limited resources, deciding which projects can go ahead in the full knowledge of the financial consequences.  Budgeting also means you can then monitor whether you’re on track once you start to take action.

Even though our Foundation is a charity, it has to be run like a business – though we don’t seek to make a profit, we need to make sure we don’t make a loss because we won’t survive for long that way.

These are the steps:

  1. Estimate the total costs required.
  2. Compare this to the funds available or the expected income.
  3. Do we have enough money?

if yes – go ahead.

if no – then we have several options:

  • look at ways to reduce the costs required
  • increase the money available
  • look at other ways to fund the shortfall
  • cancel the project.

Then every month I look at the actual costs spent before we spend any more, so I know whether we’re operating within our means.


Since we also spend our time in the same way, then why not take a similar approach to managing the amount of time we have available?

Louise encouraged me to test this out, so I’ve recently done a ‘time budget’ myself which is helping me decide how I want to spend my time, so that I get the things done that I want to.

The structure is like this:

  1. Estimate the total time required for the various things you have to do. List out all your clients or projects and the amount of time you need to fulfil these as well as you’d like.
  2. Compare this to the time you have available. Decide how much time you wish to spend at work? And how much time do you want to spend on other things?
  3. Do you have enough time to do all the things on your first list?

If yes – go ahead.  Diarise the things on your list – block out time in your diary.  It doesn’t have to be fixed but it will give you an idea how full each week will be.  Your diary will then include meetings and appointments, and regular or one-off things to do.

If no – you have several options:

  • look at ways to reduce the time required – do you need to do it all yourself?
  • increase the time available – i.e. stop doing some other things/jobs
  • look at other ways to meet the shortfall – e.g. delegate some work to others/outsource
  • say no to yourself and others (or specify the time in the future when you will have time).
  1. Once you’ve begun working on the project, keep checking the time you’ve actually spent already, BEFORE you keep spending any more – e.g. are you getting bogged down? Can you afford to spend more time?  What’s the impact on this and other projects and on your private time etc?


Treat your time as a valuable resource (just like you would with your money). I’d even say it’s even more important. There are many things we can do without money, but everything takes time. And if we’re short of money we may be able to earn more, but how do we make more time? We can use other people’s time (if they offer to help or we buy their time), but otherwise whatever we do, we’ll all have 24 hours in the day, today, tomorrow and the day after. It’s therefore our choice how we choose to spend that time.

This was a valuable reminder as it prompted me to do a “time budget”. And it shows the value of coaching. My coach, Louise, enabled me to understand the challenges that I’d been facing trying to manage many different projects and my concerns that I wasn’t getting everything done.

And as far as I can tell, we only get our time once. So make the most of it – use it wisely.