Katie Dudley   

Are you effectively managing your time?

by Katie Dudley on April 28th, 2016

I’m nearly certain that you’d agree with me that strong time management skills are key for busy, multi-hat wearing fundraisers.

Every fundraiser I know has their set of time management tricks. Outlook reminders. Highlighters. Multi-coloured pens. The “mark as unread” option (a personal favourite of mine). To name a few.

I’m sure your tricks are top-notch. But in case you’re looking for something new to add to your tool belt, I have one you may find useful.

And get this! A friend of mine who has also been using it for years told me that members of her executive fundraising team are starting to use it. So we must be on to something.

It’s a very simple “5-day week” calendar.

That’s right. No fancy app or smartphone here. (Although I do use my outlook calendar for managing my events, conference calls and appointments, etc.)

The printed “5-day week” calendar is meant solely for the list of tasks you need to complete.

Time management is a breeze with this simple tool. You just write down what you’re going to do on the space for when you’re going to do it.

You can even make note of that “report that you need to start three weeks from now” by flipping the pages to the page that will be three weeks from now.

My favourite part of this tool is that it encourages me to stay focused on only the things I have to complete that day, while at the same time planning ahead as need be. I also love how I can update it on the fly, very quickly and easily. This helps me keep track of sudden requests or tasks that come up and prioritize them based on urgency. (This is super critical in busy times when it can feel like there are millions of balls in the air.)

Pro tip: you just need to spend about 30 minutes a day reviewing and updating items as need be. I usually spend 10 or so at the beginning of my day, a few around lunch and then another 10 towards the end of the day to check off what I completed, add new items or move items around depending on their urgency. By the end of the week the sheet is a complete mess of scribbled, crossed out, colour coded notes. I love it! And feel so productive when all is said and done ☺

What are some of your tricks of the trade?

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