When you’re working at a nonprofit, there is so much to do within a given day. Grant deadlines, donor thank you letters or email newsletters to keep supporters up to date on your latest success stories – how can you manage it all? Time management is the key. Different business professionals swear by a variety of strategies to make the most of their time. Here is a sampling of time management strategies:
“The 52-17 rule can give your brain a much-needed boost.”
The 52-17 Rule
The Muse tracked employees and their productivity levels, and found that the most productive ones stayed focused and worked for 52 minutes without stopping and then took 17-minute breaks. The reason, the publication noted, that workers were able to get more done in the 52-minute intervals was because they treated it as a sprint. As a result, they put all of their energy into the task at hand with their eyes on the finish line. And, when they rested for 17 minutes, they stepped away from their computers. This methodology can give your brain a much-needed boost. So, take a break and walk outside in the sunshine, read an article or chat with a co-worker about an idea or project – you may return to your desk feeling refreshed.
The Short-term and Long-term List
Alyssa Mastromonaco – the author of “Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?”-served under President Obama throughout his two terms in the White House. She had to keep track of changing travel plans as well as the minutiae of day-to-day tasks. To keep everything straight, she wrote a to-do list with three different headings: short-term, long-term and personal. Any work-related tasks for the day or the week went under the first heading. Any upcoming meetings or presentations went under the second. The final heading would give her the reminder to pick up a birthday card or send a gift to a friend. It felt less overwhelming than a long to-do list, while also prioritizing what needed to get done immediately and what could wait until tomorrow. This can be a great tool for your next email campaign to keep you on track – especially when it comes to reaching out to donors.
Listening to Classical Music
Plugging in your headphones and listening to instrumental music can help block the outside noise around you. Sometimes when an office is too quiet, it is easy to get distracted by the small sounds coming from the desk next to you. Inc Magazine reported that Hans Zimmer’s score for the film “Inception” is one of the top soundtracks to listen to in order to stay focused. You can also try playlists curated by Google Music that are created for workers trying to keep their heads down and blast through their list of daily tasks.
These are just a few time management strategies you can try. For many people, the most successful combination borrows from several different methods. So feel free to buy plenty of extra Post-It notes, set a desk timer and listen to music.
Although these strategies help keep you on task, also remember to take care of yourself during the stressful, hectic times. Establishing a healthy work-life balance will help you achieve more and avoid a burnout.