Overwhelmed? Join the Club

I’m participating in this month’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival – time management tips. You can read more about it at Have Fun Do Good here (that’s a great blog, too, by the way). I really couldn’t ask for a better prompt. One piece of feedback from my review was that I am too productive – time management is something I’ve got in the bag. Even with this knack for productivity, I still get overwhelmed sometimes, as we all do. These are some of my favorite tips for time management.

  • Prioritize. I put this one first for a reason. This is the most important thing you can do to manage your time well! Take your task list and rank it in order. What is timely? What is important to your boss? What is a big hairy project that you need to spread out over several days? Take all of these things into account and put your tasks in order. After you’ve done that, only concentrate on the first 3-5. Monday morning you can re-evaluate your list, so don’t get worried you will miss a deadline for item #6.
  • Schedule consistent time. If there’s something that doesn’t make your priority list every week, but is still important and requires ongoing maintenance, put an appointment on your calendar weekly or monthly to work on it. When it’s on your calendar, there’s added accountability to do it. And you’ll get an Outlook reminder 15 minutes before! For example, I put database clean-up on my calendar every Monday from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. This way I’m slowly but surely working on something that feels like a huge project (and it feels smaller when I make some progress on it).
  • Use Outlook tasks. Emily Baime taught me how to use tasks back in the day, and my work life has been transformed. So many people still use a pad of paper, or worse, post its. Outlook tasks allows you to set deadlines for each task, mark priorities, and keep track of progress. Every week I update it according to priority (Monday of that week is high priority, Friday is projects on the backburner, etc) and even put in those 1-5 rankings we talked about. Don’t be shy, click on that little icon and give it a try!
  • Mix up your projects. Keep things interesting. Update event collateral, run database reports, and read an article in the same afternoon. Doing different things allows you to stay focused and energized and allows for better work.
  • Realize you’re not saving the world. I’m sure you’re doing important work, but remember, if you take a break, the world isn’t going to crumble. Take a few days off on a consistent basis. It will help you recharge your batteries and give you a fresh perspective on your projects when you return.

Remember – nothing is a crisis. Although it may seem like all of your tasks are important, keep breathing and remember that all will get accomplished in due time. And don’t forget to smile!!


My Biggest Weakness

I had my annual review on Thursday, and while it’s not exactly conventional to announce your biggest area of improvement to the whole world, I want to be held accountable to improving on this and I’m hoping that posting about it will do that! Basically, what my biggest area of improvement comes down to is this:

I need to talk more.

I need to share my opinions more in groups of colleagues – especially at the management level, so that they can see that I aspire to become a leader and have the insight and drive to go there. I have this mentality that since I’m not the expert in the room, I should listen and learn from those who are. What I need to realize and embrace is that even though I don’t have the same number of years as others, I still have valid opinions that could help in some way. Even if they don’t help in any way, at least they will demonstrate to others part of my potential. Because not sharing anything means not sharing any of my potential. And that doesn’t do anyone any good!

It’s funny, because I have no problem injecting my thoughts and opinions into one-on-one conversations with managers… but when it comes to a group, like at a committee meeting, I have no drive to speak. And I don’t know that it’s any sort of complex about talking in front of groups… because I do that all the time… it’s more that I want to learn as much as I can before I go being presumptuous and speaking when I shouldn’t. I need to get over this and start sharing my thoughts on a consistent basis. This blog helps because it helps me shape my opinions about things without having to come up with things on the fly, which will make me more confident to share. I sincerely hope that with my move to another city and nonprofit I can truly spread my wings and talk more in groups!!

I’d appreciate ideas any of you have to help me work on this issue!


Time to Celebrate!

What a wonderful Sunday morning surprise. Not only had my good friend Jerry subscribed by email to my blog, I was mentioned in Rosetta Thurman’s wonderful blog, Blogging for Branding, here! Rosetta is the reason I started this blog. I first came across Rosetta in the online world through her blog, aptly named Rosetta Thurman. The blog’s theme is what attracted me: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders. If you know me, you know what a leadership nerd I am. 🙂 When I saw her on the docket for speakers for the San Diego Young Nonprofit Professionals (YNPN) group in November, I knew I had to go! In the presentation, she referred to the book she just published with Trista Harris, How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar, so I ordered it. I read the book cover to cover and loved everything it had to offer – practical tips to further your nonprofit career and make yourself well-rounded and marketable. Who doesn’t want to learn about that? It will definitely be a book I will continue to read to remind myself of good practices. The book had a pretty good emphasis on writing a blog, which I first was unsure about, but thought about it… I have plenty of opinions and nuggets of advice to offer… if it will help brand my name for potential employers and connections, why not? After I saw Rosetta’s challenge on Blogging for Branding of 5 Blog Topics to Build Your Personal Brand, I knew that the time had come… I needed to start writing. Which brings us to today!

I still have lots of work to do to get the word out about my blog, and use many of the techniques that Rosetta suggests, but I feel like I’m off to a good start. I have officially been blogged about by my nonprofit idol. And that’s a reason to celebrate!