How to achieve more by doing less

Cinzia Perlingieri

Cinzia is excited to work with CVNL to strengthen local nonprofits through creative services, capacity building, research, planing, and development. Native Italian with a post-doctoral degree in anthropology, Cinzia has traveled in Europe, North East Africa, and Middle East for over 20 years as an anthropologist before landing in the nonprofit world.

Conquer Time Management Once and For All…

 

“Nothing is as fatiguing as the continued hanging on of an uncompleted task.” — William James

In a recent conversation with CVNL’s friend and affiliate consultant Bob Arzt, founder of Polaris One and author of “What Every Great Salesperson Knows – A No-nonsense Guide for Sales Success,” we learned a lot about time management and how we could experience more time in our days by eliminating stress and overcoming our “blockers.” 

We just need to change our habits…it’s quite simple, in theory.

Doing the same things in the same way yields the same results. It’s not rocket science. Working harder at doing the same or ineffective activities is self-destructive and zaps your energy and enthusiasm. It takes up precious time, yet we often persist in our “old” ways.

Why? Because it’s easier to continue with our old habits than take the time to stop and learn new and more effective ways.

This is a chronic issue in the nonprofit world.

In many nonprofits, particularly small and medium sized, there always seems to be a lot of work to do, and never enough time (or people) to do it. This is partly the nature of nonprofit work: we tend to focus on our day-to-day tasks, we spend much of our resources on serving our mission, we invest a lot of time learning how to raise money and how to run programs, but we rarely make the time to create more effective processes and systems that would pay off in the long run.

“In order to conquer our time and organization management problems we must learn how to do things differently,” says our friend Bob. “There are many blockages to effective time and organization management that have to do for instance with lack of organization, unclear goals, poor management, and technology issues. Understanding what are the main causes of your issues or weaknesses, is the first step to solve them once and for all.”

Let’s talk about goals for instance. It is critical to have goal clarity about what it is we want to achieve and follow through with the steps necessary to achieve them. Our goals need to be prioritized, broken down into manageable actions, put on a timetable —  and all this should be written down in an organized system (and a shared one if you work with a team) so that progress can be tracked. Taking the time to go through these steps before jumping into action dramatically increases our chances of achieving the goals.

We believe in effective processes as well as in strong missions, and for this reason we partnered with Bob and asked him to bring his time and organization management expertise into our Leadership curriculum with a Time Management Boot Camp for Nonprofit Leaders (coming up on May 23, 10:00am–3:00pm, lunch included, don’t miss it!).

While we are looking forward to Bob’s boot camp, here are a few tips that Bob kindly shared with us, and immediate actions you can take to conquer your organization and time control issues:

  • Time wasters: Discover your time wasting activities and what gets in the way of your being organized. For each time waster, create an action plan to either totally eliminate it or reduce its impact.
  • Define your workflow: Determine all of your necessary activities each week and allocate the ideal amount of time it takes to accomplish each one.
  • The perfect week: Create an ideal workweek. Physically block off time in your calendar each week to accomplish each activity you identified above along with the amount of time necessary to accomplish each activity.
  • Reserves: Build into your schedule fail-safe time. For example, block off every Friday afternoon as reserve time. You can use this time to catch up on excess work, uncompleted tasks, or if you’re totally caught up, head home early or reward yourself with something that gives you pleasure.
  • Laser planning: Set aside a little time every day to review today and plan for tomorrow.

Come join CVNL and Bob Arzt for our Time Management Boot Camp for Nonprofit Leaders on May 23 and leave with a great time saving action plan to share with your team.

Good luck on your journey to success!