We’re nearing the end of the year, but that doesn’t mean work slows down. For most Volunteer Managers, the year-end is a busy time. Running reports, holding annual appreciation events, and planning for the following year. Tasks pile up quickly.
How do you get everything done while still enjoying the season? Two words: Prioritizing Tasks.
You might not get everything done before you head out for some well-deserved days off. That’s okay. Instead of stressing out about it, lean into the fact. Some items will need to be put off until later. But if you prioritize your task list right, those things won’t be a big deal.
Create A Task List.
It may feel overwhelming, but this is crucial to prioritize what needs to get done now and what should eventually get done. Write out a master list of all the things you need to do. Big or small, if you have a task to get done, put it on this list. Once everything is laid out, look it over and organize the items. Research shows that most people prioritize things with a deadline, even if that item will have little to no payoff. So think through your list critically. What are truly the most critical tasks for you to complete now? What items will positively affect your company, department, project, or team?
Use The 4 Ds Of Time Management.
The book The Power of Focus gave the 4 Ds of Time Management. These rules are: Do. Drop. Defer. Delegate. When you finish your task list, begin to organize tasks into these four categories. 1) Do – these are items that you need to do now. 2) Drop – these things do not impact your job or organization. They are time wasters and should be deleted. 3) Defer – these are tasks that should get done…eventually. Put them off until it’s needed. 4) Delegate – these are items that others on your team can help you complete. It can be hard to let go of things, but this is a critical skill for a good leader.
Do The Most Difficult Task First.
There’s a reason we procrastinate doing more challenging tasks – they aren’t fun. In the book Eat That Frog, Brian Tracy recommends first knocking out your hardest and least-liked mission. “…if you have two important tasks before you, start with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first. Discipline yourself to begin immediately and then to persist until the task is complete before you go on to something else.” These tasks are not always pleasant. They might be challenging, uncomfortable, or overwhelming. But they are important. It is better to knock those out right away while your mind is fresh and you are at your most determined. Get the necessary things done.
Lean Into Possible Defeat.
Time is limited. You might not get a chance to cross off every item on your task list. You need to be okay with that. You need to recognize that not completing an item or deferring it to a later date is not a failure. It’s prioritizing. Putting unrealistic expectations on ourselves is harmful. Not only to our personal well-being but to our checklist as well. The more you try to get things done quickly, the greater the risk that things won’t get done well. Give yourself grace. Do your best to prioritize what items will have the greatest impact and carefully work through what you need to do. You will see positive results when you focus on the important stuff.
VOLUNTEER UNIVERSITY NEWS
We recently released our new book: VOL U 101: Introduction to Volunteering. It may sound like an introductory course in volunteer management, but don’t let the title fool you. The book covers everything from volunteer recruitment to retention and everything in between. It’s a fantastic resource for anyone who leads teams. Get your copy HERE.