I just said YES, and I’m excited!
Well, as excited as one can be for volunteer committee work. But it’s a great group and a topic I’m passionate about, so I said yes to a 2-year leadership term, even though there’s no “extra” time in my day.
It’s time to draw some boundaries, to achieve my goals, but not at the expense of my life or my business.
First, goals. I expect that between monthly meetings, reading pertinent articles and notices, logistics planning, and phone calls to coordinate with my awesome co-leader, I’ll likely spend about 4-6 hours a month on this committee work.
Second, tracking. I’d like to know if I’m spending more or less than my goal time each month, so I can make adjustments, and so I can feel good about whatever my decision will be to stay or go in 2 years when my commitment is up. There’s just no time for a new app or gadget, so I’m just going to sort the actual time spent on my calendar. The meetings are already on the calendar, titled as “TECH SIG”. The real magic happens when any amount of time over 15 minutes also gets added to my electronic calendar, either in advance or retroactively. Really, this isn’t something new. I just need to be diligent about marking down any time at all on this committee, even if it’s the invisible stuff done in my office, and calling it “TECH SIG WORK” on the calendar. In other words, each and every bit of Tech SIG work gets an “appointment” on my calendar, even if I’m not meeting with other people.
Third, analysis. Once I’ve logged my time on my regular calendar using a consistent appointment title,it’s easy to search for those appointments and add up the time spent on that committee, both in meetings and in preparation, over any time frame. You can do this in nearly any online calendar just by searching for the appointment title. However, I had to make one little tweak in my Outlook calendar to show the duration of the appointments so that they’d be easy to add up. Here are the 3 steps in this handy picture.
From this picture, you can see how it will be easy to review and add up the amount of time I’ve spent on this committee over the next year or two.
Just like stuff, there’s only a limited amount of space (calendar slots) to put things. I might need to pare down, purge, or make different choices with my time. This is just one way to not let someone else’s priorities or my own eagerness eat up available slots on my calendar.
What about you? Do you often review the amount of time that you are spending on extra activities, like committees and volunteer groups?