Time waits for nobody. This universally accepted statement is so true that Freddie Mercury felt the need to write and sing a song about it. So, why is it that some people’s days seem to stretch like chewing gum stuck to the back of their shoes, while for others it is a race against the tick-tock? These individuals also seem to get much more done in their days as compared to those trying to keep up with time.
There can't merely be a difference in workload for some folks. The answer is good time management. It's far more plausible that they are managing their time well, or using their time more efficiently.
The art of using your time efficiently and productively is the essence of time management. The management and planning of how to split your time between various tasks and the ability to accomplish them without feeling stressed and overwhelmed are great indicators of effective time management.
If you execute it correctly, you'll find that you work more efficiently and effectively to complete more tasks in less time, even under time constraints and heavy pressure.
Although it seems easy, doing it effectively is much tougher. Let us walk you through the importance of time management, its benefits, and how your nonprofit can benefit from your time management skills as a leader.
The importance of time management as a nonprofit leader/professional
Whether you are an intern or the founder of a nonprofit, time works the same for everyone and effective time management will be a boon for everyone involved. Yet, as the leader of a nonprofit, your responsibilities will be much more and more crucial to the overall welfare of your organization and its beneficiaries.
Nonprofits struggle to focus on what matters because they have so much to do. With so many jobs, it is common to labor longer hours, miss deadlines, or compromise quality without seeing a discernible improvement in performance.
With the skill of time management and the proper tools in place, you can expect to finish all your tasks effectively and on schedule. This way you can remain less stressed while maintaining a balance between your professional and personal life.
Tips for effective time management:
All leaders, executives, and decision-makers should be proficient in time management because it is a key factor in determining the efficiency and success of an NGO.
Time is not only your most valuable asset; it is also an irreplaceable asset. Therefore, by tight self-imposed time management methods, a conscious effort should be made to build or improve time management skills.
- Be a person with a plan
Without a plan, you might find yourself scrambling and working hard needlessly. The solution is to work smart. Plan your tasks ahead of time. This could ideally be done in the mornings as you start your day or at the end of your work day, you can lay out a plan of all the unfinished tasks you have from today and the tasks for the next day.
To avoid gradually descending into madness and overworking, review your work at the end of the week to determine what went wrong. Your life will be saved from burnout by following a well-designed plan. Make a master list of all the tasks you need to do. These lists can then be divided into weekly, daily, and monthly goals. To properly manage your time, always be honest with yourself about how many chores you can complete in a day.
- Set your priorities right
Not every task scores the same on the priority scale. Studies show that prioritizing your work lowers stress and anxiety while boosting self-esteem, confidence, and energy. One way of determining which task should rank higher than others in terms of their priority should come from these factors: the task’s urgency and importance.
Urgent tasks are those that call for your immediate attention. Yet, if left unattended, the results won’t be detrimental to your organization’s progress.
Eg: Sending out monthly email campaigns to update stakeholders on your organizational progress is urgent but a 2-day delay won’t cause much damage.
Important tasks are those that need immediate attention and if not worked on right away can have serious consequences and repercussions. Important tasks always acquire the highest priority.
Eg: Getting on a call with a potential partner can help solve a few of your organizational worries, this call is important and you must get right to it.
- Schedule everything
Scheduling is crucial since it cuts down on the amount of time wasted each week. Additionally, scheduling everything enables you to establish a benchmark, which will provide you with a baseline for the amount of time needed to accomplish a work.
You can identify and analyze the tasks that consume the most time so that you can automate them by using time tracking. At the end of each month, for instance, you can look at how much time you spend on Google Sheets creating reports and invoices. You can choose to use the various tools available if you think some automation will make this work easier.
Using a few time management tools such as Google Calendar, Toggle, Clockify, Monday.com, etc, can help you manage your time efficiently. These tools are free to use. Try them out and pick the tool that you are most comfortable with.
- Do not be a hero
You can save a lot more time by delegating duties you don’t have the right skills and expertise rather than attempting to complete everything yourself. You are a leader of the organization, not a hero. It shouldn’t be your responsibility to know and complete every task.
By delegating jobs, such as logo design, so you can concentrate your abilities and efforts on the things that matter more. Having said that, you must decide which duties are worth assigning to others and develop the ability to let go of them.
You can always onboard a virtual volunteer to carry out these overwhelming duties that you need help with or are spending way too much time on. Reach out to Chezuba and post a project for your needs.
- Eliminate Distractions
As you keep logging in your tasks over a few days, take some time out to analyze this log and identify where your efforts are making a difference. You should also discover the activities that prevent you from being productive and how much time you spend on each one. These distractions can be in the form of spending significant portions of your day keeping up with coworkers and checking social media.
Then, muster all your determination and work within predetermined time frames where you either manage distractions by scheduling breaks at pre-scheduled intervals to check your phone, go for lunch, or just relax, or you eliminate them by closing your office door.
As a nonprofit organization, every minute of your day has someone counting on you and your organization’s kindness. Chezuba understands this and would love the opportunity to help your organization reach its maximum potential without taking a toll on your mental and physical health. Partner with us to allow other do-gooders to help you progress in your journey of making the world a better place.