Have you heard of the magic bank account? The first time I heard of it, I was attending a faculty meeting at the elementary school where I was teaching. Believe me, all teachers want a magic bank account, so our principal certainly had our attention when she brought it up.
I was not able to find the origin of the magic bank account story, but it does appear to be pretty well known. It goes like this:
The magic bank account
Imagine you win a prize—every morning your bank account is credited $86,400. Whatever you don’t spend that day is removed that night when you go to sleep. But, the next morning, you’d once again have the full amount deposited into your account. There is no way to save what you don’t spend, so you might try to spend every cent each day. You might especially try to spend it all each day, because at any time the bank can decide that the time’s up on your prize and you won’t have your bank account anymore.
Of course, the truth of the magic bank account is that it isn’t really about money, but about time. The $86,400 represent the seconds in each day and how you choose to spend your time (Don’t worry, I checked the math!)
It’s a pretty good lesson. It’s about making the most of what you have. Even magic bank accounts probably need some sensible person planning and making a budget for how to best use the magic dollars. I mean, we can’t just have 86,400 magic dollars spent willy-nilly on things like unicorn museums and buckets of fairy dust. At the very least, you have to decide how much will go to the unicorns and how much will go to the fairy dust. It might be best if you consult any number of budget resources for help to manage your plans.
Let’s not forget—this is real life, and we’re talking about time not money. The idea is to make the best use of the time you have. Have you ever budgeted time? Maybe. You may have used a calendar, a daily schedule, or even routine. All of us have at least a vague idea of how we’d like to spend our time—at least I think. Maybe you’re looking for a resource to help you budget your time.
The intersection of budget and time
As we get started with a brand new year, I’d like to share a tool. I’m so glad my friend shared it with me just about a year ago, and I’m really looking forward to using it again this year. My second try. For real, does anyone’s first budget ever work? Usually no. Budgets change and evolve, or they can be tailored to whoever is using them. This time-planning tool can also be tailored to you and how you see best fit to use it.
YearCompass is designed for helping to organize and plan your time and I can’t wait to try it again. This is a reflection and planning booklet which can help you with your “time budgeting”. It’s released each year, and you can download it for free in multiple languages and formats.
The booklet has two sections—one for reflecting on the past year and one for planning the year ahead. Starting with the past year is a great way to give you focus, but it also allows for identifying if there is anything you want to let go of before you move on to a new year.
As a goal planning tool, I think it gets just a bit more specific and detailed while nudging you to consider why you are choosing certain goals. Each section will support you through various goals in different aspects of your life—personal life and family, health and fitness, finances, intellectual, work and professional, spiritual, emotional, and even a bucket list area.
Why plan your year? As mentioned above, this can help you plan how you will spend your time. From the booklet itself, it is explained as follows:
“Planning your year is a good habit. It can help you become more aware of your successes and sorrows and make you realize how much can happen just in a year. By learning from the past you can plan your future in a way that you don’t repeat the same patterns and feel more in control of your own life.”
Wow! Control in your own life? Yes, please! Sounds amazing!
Some personal input
As I mentioned, I am about to try YearCompass for the second time. I want to share two personal take-aways with you as we prepare for this new year:
Control in your own life only goes so far
There are most definitely things I wrote in my booklet last year that turned out to be way beyond my control and did not go how I planned them. Don’t worry. It’s bound to happen. That’s life and few people are really in control of everything in their life. Interruptions happen. Plans change. You can adjust.
It’s about more than budget
Yes, this tool helps you plan your year, but if you pay attention, you will realize something different than your standard New Year’s resolution planning might involve. The booklet includes outward impact question prompts. My favorite is an open-ended sentence: “The most important thing I did for others…” Or the question, “Who are the three people you influenced the most?” Remember, even as you plan out your own time, your choices will impact others around you.
This year, I plan to keep my booklet handy so I can review it often. I think it will be a great reminder of my goals and encourage me to make my choices and decisions accordingly.
If you would like to try planning your time with YearCompass, you can download your own copy here.
Happy 2019! You have millions of seconds to spend in this brand new year. Have you thought through how you’d like to spend them?