6 Time management tips for student fundraisers
From Vicky Wallace, Fundraising Manager
I don't know about you, but when I was at university, fundraising felt like a break from my degree. It refreshed me so that when I came back to my uni work, I felt ready for it - if I hadn't had anything outside of my degree, I think I would have gone mad!
That said, taking on any extra commitment means balancing your time. I've always been far from perfect, but let me tell you, it can be done. You can achieve great things as well as your degree whilst you're at university.
Though I'm still far from perfect, here are some tools I've picked up that I hope you can use towards your own goals, whatever they may be.
1. Use your mindset
Ok, realistically most of these tips could come under "using your mindset" but I guess that just emphasises why it's so important.
You are in control of your mind and therefore your results. Don't wait until you "feel like" doing something - you may find you never do! Know your goals, and take action toward them. Use this to motivate you.
2. Use your goals
As well as motivating us, our goals can also help us to prioritise. Start the day with the task that will do the most to help you achieve your goals. It's easy to postpone these tasks or procrastinate on them, but in reality these are the tasks we should be starting with, when we have a fresh mind and energy.
Identify low priority tasks and ask yourself, what would happen if I didn't do this? What are the other options? Sometimes you'll find that you don't actually need to do everything you think you need to! This also means that everything you do, you're doing out of choice because it will help you acheive your goals. This can change your whole outlook!
3. Use Parkinson's Law
"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion"
By assigning the right amount of time to each task, you can gain back more time and optimise your own productivity. Research Parkinson's Law and how you can use it to your advantage. Please note that this is not an invitation to try and complete your whole dissertation in three days!
4. Use your task list
Have one list of all tasks you need to complete, including deadlines for each. Once they're written down, you're less likely to forget about them or wake up in the middle of the night worrying that you might forget something!
Each day, make a list of the tasks you will complete today, and consider how long each one will take, giving yourself time for other activities like emails, travel, breaks and interruptions
Learn more about this at Smarter Not Harder
5. Use email effectively
Being efficient with your emails can make everything else run smoother and reduce stress. The key to this is managing your inbox. Don't use your inbox as a place to store emails, nor as a to-do list. Emails should sit in your inbox for a very short time and every time you go to your inbox you should empty it, then close your emails and move your focus to your task list.
5. Use Audiobooks
Don't feel you have time to learn about time management? Tell me about it! Even though you know it's beneficial in the long run, finding the time to improve your skills is difficult. But what are you at uni for, if not to further your knowledge and develop as a person?
For me, the solution has been listening to videos and audiobooks so I can learn on the go, wherever I am. Audible allows you to purchase and download audiobooks so you can listen on mobile, even offline.
"But that sounds expensive" I hear you cry! Well Audible offers you a 30-day free trial where you can download one audiobook for free. Or if you'd like more than one, you can join using the link below to get 50% discount for the first 3 months and Amazon will make a small payment to Hope for Children!
6. Use your down time
We all know that not taking care of ourselves can have many negative consequences, impactng our health amongst other things. So why is it so easy to get caught up in the mindset that we should be working all the time?
One thing I've found useful is to remind myself that taking time to rest actually makes me more productive. This reduces the conflict between "I need to get things done" and "I need to take breaks" because I remind myself that rest time is productive. Many people are more productive the day before they go on holiday. Why? Because they work to a deadline and reward themselves afterwards with a break.
Taking proper breaks has also been shown to increase creativity and improve memory, among other benefits. So make sure whilst you're out changing the world, you stop to smell the roses!
Further reading (or listening!)
Some books/blogs I've found helpful:
- Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy: 21 great ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time
- Radical Candor by Kim Scott: How to get what you want by saying what you mean
- Smarter Not Harder blog (this company also do free training for charity staff!)
Remember you can get a discount on Audible membership here, or you could make use of their 30-day free trial
Finally, consider joining our Ambassador Programme for more personal development grounded in concepts of NLP. Email Katy on firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more
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