How Do You Manage Your Time?
In our intro course, we ask our trainees to evaluate their time management. Whether you are in a culture that highly values time, or in a culture where time is held more loosely, your relationship to time is important. As leaders of nonprofits, NGOs, and community-based organizations, we likely have many tasks competing for our time. Since we cannot create or buy more time in our days, we must learn to efficiently and effectively manage what we need to do so that our organizations can thrive.
Make A List
To manage your time well, you must know what requires your time and attention before you can give it. First, make a list of all your responsibilities and commitments. What fills up your time? Include everything from your work commitments, family and community commitments, and anything else you must regularly give your time to.
Evaluate How Much Time You Have
Next, track your time for a week to see where you actually spend your time. We often think we may only spend a few minutes each day on social media, or checking our emails, but in reality we might spend hours. Evaluate yourself by using a template like this to track your time for a week: Time Tracker Template.
Then, ask yourself a few questions to evaluate:
- To what am I giving the most time? Is it most important, and does it deserves that much time?
- Is anything taking up more of my time than I realized? If so, how can I change this?
- Is there anything that I currently do not give enough time to?
- What commitments do I currently have which I absolutely cannot give up or do not want to give up?
- Are there any commitments I could learn to do more quickly, or delegate to others?
- Could I stop doing any of these commitments, or do less?
- How much time do I really have in a typical day, week, or month that I could set aside to work toward a new project, hobby, or other desired outcome?
Learn to Prioritize
Often, we get caught up in the most urgent task, losing track of what is most important. A good time management tool to help you prioritize your work is called the Eisenhower Matrix. This was developed to make wise decisions about what you should devote your time to. This matrix will help you determine how to focus your time, especially when you have a long to do list. It is helpful to look at what is most important or urgent so that you can prioritize what your energy and time will be focused on.
Here is a template for you to use of the Eisenhower Matrix.
In addition, make sure you are using an online calendar and to-do list tool to manage your time and priorities. If you prefer, you can also use this template as well: Calendar Template
Promise Yourself to Make These Changes
If you need to make changes on how you spend your time, make a promise to yourself that you will make those changes, no matter how hard they may be. Maybe you learned you spend too much time wasted on the internet or watching TV. Work hard to make that change. Ask others for help. Find someone you can be accountable to about this (or maybe you already have someone in your life like this!) and ask them to help you keep your promise.
The information contained in this comes from our Computer Basics & Time Management for Organizational Leaders Course, included free with all course purchases of our training. Visit https://cultivatetraining.org/enroll/ to learn more or to get started!