Time Management Advice for Volunteer Managers
Many nonprofits are small operations where employees wear many hats. You may have a lot of duties in addition to managing your volunteers. At times, this workload can feel overwhelming, but it’s possible to become more effective and improve your time management skills. We’ve put together a list detailing how volunteer managers save time, which should help you feel less overwhelmed and use every minute more wisely.
1. Stop Multitasking to Increase Productivity
Many busy people think that by doing lots of things at once, they’ll get more accomplished. In reality, multitasking is counterproductive (not to mention bad for your mental health). It makes it difficult to do anything well, and your attention gets split by too many distractions. Instead, focus on getting one thing done, and don’t move to the next item on your to-do list until you’ve completed that one thing. Then, jump down to the next item and so on. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you begin knocking tasks off the list.
2. Automate as Many Tasks as Possible
Are there things you do every day that you can use software or apps to do for you instead? For instance, if part of your job is updating the monthly volunteer schedule and sending out reminders for shifts, consider investing in volunteer management software like Volgistics, which can handle many of these tasks for you. Enabling volunteers to self-schedule and sending out automatic reminders are just a couple things good volunteer software can do. You can free up time this way, and you’ll also have a better way to track your volunteers.
3. Prioritize Your Tasks
Not every objective is created equal. You undoubtedly know that some tasks are more important than others, but are you approaching your job in a way that reflects such urgency? If the answer is no, try making a list of to-do’s that prioritize the most important items over the rest. By doing so, you remind yourself that you need to get the critical things done first, and you won’t get bogged down in a job that can wait until next week.
4. Track the Time It Takes You to Complete Weekly Duties
If you constantly feel as though you don’t have enough time, it may be that you’re not using the time efficiently. Tracking how much time you spend on each task gives you an idea of how you spread out your work. For example, you may find that you spent five hours on something that should only take two. If that’s the case, you can consider ways to complete the work more efficiently.
5. Turn off Email Notifications
You can spend the entire day reading and replying to emails if you don’t exercise caution. About 99 percent of emails can be dealt with at the beginning or end of the day. There’s no urgency to them. Turn off notifications so that you can concentrate fully on whatever you’re working on. Check your email first thing in the morning, at lunch and at the end of the day, and let your co-workers know of your plan so that they can get you if something needs attention right away.