Let’s face it, most of us are looking for a better work-life balance. We want to accomplish big goals, but we want to do so more efficiently. So we turn to time management.
There are all kinds of time management tips out there. But when we read that Bill Gates would map out his time a year in advance, we here at Funding for Good were intrigued. In a conversation with Gates’ former speech writer, CNBC explains that:
Planning as much as possible in advance can help you create a rhythm to your schedule, break year-end goals down into smaller, more manageable tasks, boost your productivity and improve your work-life balance, among other benefits.
It’s advice that can yield dividends for organizations and individuals alike, particularly when coupled with a strong strategic plan.
A Strategic Plan Provides a Perfect Framework for Annual Goals
Your nonprofit’s strategic plan is a roadmap for how your organization aims to achieve its mission over a three to five year period. As part of this process, you’ll establish the metrics you’ll use to measure progress toward your long-term goals. With these in hand, creating annual plans for yourself and your nonprofit gets a whole lot easier.
Better Strategy Yields More Efficient Time Management
While planning a year in advance can sound a bit overwhelming, there’s unique insight to be gained. Your twelve-month plan will say a lot about how to prioritize your energy. When you compare your annual plan to your immediate day-to-day work, you can start identifying areas where you should be spending more time and where you should be spending less.
As much as we may wish we had unlimited time and energy, the truth is that both are limited resources. That goes for leaders and their teams alike. Lack of clarity in employees’ roles and goals is a major cause of burnout for nonprofit staffers. Clearer strategy can also lead to more creativity—and ultimately productivity—within your organization.
Strategic Planning Can Kick Off Important Organizational Culture Conversations
As part of strategic planning, you’ll bring together board and staff leaders for one or more retreat sessions. Often, we see the topic of organizational culture arise in these sessions.
While culture doesn’t sound like a traditional “productivity hack,” how your organization operates can directly affect individual and overall productivity.
Is your nonprofit creating a culture of sustainability or are you perpetually stuck in crisis mode? Do your policies support your team’s personal and mental health, providing them the tools to do their best work when they log in for the day? Are your managers receiving regular leadership training that prepares them to both lead and nurture new talent?
Sometimes the answers aren’t what we’d like to hear. But understanding our starting point is key to knowing where to invest.
That’s why a strategic planning process is often the fastest way for your organization to reach that next level of impact—without burning out your team.