July 11, 2010


Posted in Yes but at 6:06 am by Sue Hine

Ain’t it awful – that constant pressure, the competing demands, absolutely no work-life balance.  And certainly no time to browse a blog or read an interesting article.

Not when there are 30 emails waiting to be read, the phone is ringing, an anxious volunteer is hovering at the door, and you are late for an appointment and there’s a report to be written by 8.30 tomorrow morning.

Do I exaggerate?  I don’t think so.  Been there myself a few times. 

So I had to teach myself a few lessons which are worth a read, I think. 

 Because you can’t afford not to have time.   

  1. After two months of running round in circles I took a long hard look at the job description, and reviewed it every year.  Just to make sure what was written matched what I was really doing.  Very early on I got rid of that neat little clause that said ‘any other such tasks as may be required from time to time’.   
  2. I recognised the lack of time was not going to be resolved by attending courses on time or stress management.  It was the complexity of the role, the multi-tasking required – as well as numbers of volunteers – that was the burden.  So I really appreciated the organisational and relationship skills I had learned in household management and parenting.
  3. I learned very quickly how to prioritise, with and without a to-do list.  Once I had ticked off all the little things the load felt lighter and my head was clearer to tackle the major task for the day.
  4. In pre-computer days I was given this advice: Handle every piece of paper only once.  A helpful reminder when it came to managing emails.
  5. I reminded myself over and over:  Seek out the volunteer to help with this task or to take on that responsibility.
  6. Joining the Volunteer Centre lunchtime forums was a great way to meet and mix with other managers of volunteers, a kind of support network we all needed.  Mentoring or supervision is another means of support, and also skill development. 

Because you can’t afford not to have time.   

Because you owe it to the organisation, to the volunteers, and to yourself

Because you are worth it

And – if you want more than this homespun advice, the Energize Volunteer Management Update for July 2010** has some links to excellent websites under the heading Hints from Everyone Ready faculty.  And look for the book The (Help!) I-Don’t-Have-Enough-Time Guide to Volunteer Management, by Katherine Noyes Campbell and Susan J. Ellis.  I wish I had found something like this when I was floundering in my early days.  Read the blurbs and buy it. 

You see – it’s worth making time to look for resources.  There is always something to learn.

And that’s really why you can’t afford not to have time.

** If you are not already receiving this Update you can get the links at http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs070/1101128346960/archive/1103535999991.html#a6 

To receive the Update per email go to http://www.energizeinc.com/ener/monthly-update-archive.html


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