Managing time is not easy. It’s a life’s work, in fact. For those of us in the nonprofit world, and especially resource development and institutional advancement, it feels even harder. We have a passion for the mission; we are often understaffed; and with success comes more work, not less.
How to make it all work?
- Start with clarity of your big priorities. What are your top three to five “buckets” of work? As a consultant mine are clear. What are yours?
- Respond to current clients’ needs
- Get my invoices in, or the team can’t get paid
- Stay current
- Support the work of the rest of the team
- Check with your supervisor. What percentage of time should you spend, ideally, on each of your big buckets?
- Determine reality. How much time are you spending and what is getting in the way?
- Have a conversation about fixing the imbalance.
- Stephen M. Covey left us all a terrific tool. Identify those daily activities that land in each of the boxes and then find ways to eliminate all of those activities in boxes C and D. Emails come to mind. Too many meetings. Other people’s urgencies. Use the time to fit in more activities from boxes A and B
- Learn how and when to say “no.” This is liberating and does not have to be career-limiting. “That sounds like a good idea. I could devote 30 minutes to it tomorrow, but today I have to take care of (fill in the agreed upon priorities). Should we take a few minutes and brainstorm together some other ways to take care of this?”
No one has time. We could work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and never, ever be finished. Our responsibility, therefore, is to pick the right things to do, and the right things to let go.
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