It may seem as if your task list keeps growing while time is shrinking. Nonprofit organizations are always busy, often with more tasks than time. Anything you can do to improve productivity is welcome. These tips can help you manage your time more effectively to boost productivity throughout your organization.
Tips to Boost Productivity
- Set notifications for email and social media accounts: Rather than keeping tabs and apps open for your email and social media accounts, set them up so that notifications ring into your system. You can then glance at the notification messages and choose whether or not to respond immediately rather than constantly checking all of your communications.
- Establish times to check and respond to email: It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by your inbox. One way to tame the email monster is to set aside three or four 15-minute increments during your day to read and respond to emails. You’ll stay up to date on important messages without feeling chained to your inbox.
- Sync your calendar: Sync your calendar across all of your electronic devices or use a cloud-based calendar app that automatically syncs it for you. Accessing meeting invitations, dates, times and links to calls or screen shares from wherever you are help you manage your time more effectively.
- Copy people sparingly on emails: Don’t hit “reply all” automatically. Establish policies in your organization about who to copy on emails. This prevents email overload from simple responses that can happen when the “reply all” button is hit too frequently.
- Use instant messenger apps: Instant messenger apps such as Skype, Slack and others are great for quick questions, group brainstorms, even phone calls. Instead of sending emails, quick chats appear and can be taken care of instantly.
- Use Evernote or Microsoft Note to write task lists: Microsoft notes, Apple Evernote and other programs are great to jot down ideas and meeting notes. You can save great ideas quickly to use later without stopping what you are working on.
- Name files with things you’ll remember: Set up a file naming protocol for shared files that includes the date and other pertinent information so that you can find them later. Tagging files with keywords can also help you search your systems for critical documents quickly.
- Never start a meeting without a written agenda: A written agenda can guide meetings and keep them on task and on time. Circulate an agenda before the meeting and stick to it. Keep meetings to a reasonable number of items for the time allotted and don’t be afraid to gently but firmly halt off-topic conversations and guide them back to the agenda.
- Use commuting time for learning: Use your daily commute for learning opportunities and professional development. If you drive to work, books on tape or recorded podcasts from your industry are great ways to polish your skills and keep abreast of developments. If you take mass transit, consider taking online courses. You don’t need to take formal classes at a university. Many professional organizations offer recorded seminars, sessions from conferences, and other materials you can review while on the train or bus. Similarly, some low-cost or free workshops are also available from independent consultants, companies, and others.
You may feel that there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done from your task list. If you use your time wisely, you’ll find you can accomplish your list and much more.
Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.