I did a short presentation on time management tips for a group of nonprofit volunteer managers last week. The tip most commented on, during and after, follows.
In nonprofit work, with all our varied stakeholders, there are days when we arrive to a well-organized list of items To Do Today, and discover very shortly into the morning that none of them will get done because other issues or crises need to be addressed immediately.
Rather than finish the day looking at the undone list of items and feeling miserable that “I got nothing done!”, I’ve learned to switch from a To Do List to an Accomplished Today list where I keep track of all the items that I address for the newly discovered issues or crises.
Then, when I reach the end of the day, I can feel like I got a lot done — because I did!
The Accomplished Today List has a lot of advantages:
- It reduces frustration — and a little stress.
- Sometimes I notice some of the unexpected tasks also move forward some of my Key Objectives.
- It keeps a record of what I do accomplish, so when the boss asks what did you get done this week, month, or quarter, I have a thorough record.
- And most important: I feel good about my day — and can start fresh on my own To Do List tomorrow.