As the E.D. of a non-profit, you may be thinking about your organization this month and wondering what you can do to make a bigger impact in 2015. A stronger board, new relationships, bigger donors, learning more about social media and that new thing everyone is talking about, social investment, may top your list of “to-do’s”. Before you plunge into a 2015 makeover for your agency, however, I’d like to suggest that you start with yourself. Possibly the best thing you can do for your organization is to take care of you. So what have you done for you, lately? Here are some thoughts about taking care of you in 2015.
1. Be realistic. Change and growth take time. They aren’t going to happen overnight and maybe not even this year, but you can make significant gains if you set realistic, attainable goals. Give yourself a break and make sure you aren’t trying to take on too much this year.
2. Drop Everything and Read. There is so much information out there and much of it is interesting, but not everything is important or valuable. Pick a few websites, blogs, Twitter feeds, e-newsletters, or periodicals (those old fashioned things like newspapers and magazines) and set a goal to read these at least once a week. Ignore the rest or clean them from your inbox or feed. Clip or save the ones that really strike you and pull them out when it’s time to do any kind of planning or goal setting for yourself or your staff. Forward pertinent clippings to board members, staff, or key community contacts.
3. Set boundaries and keep them. In our electronic world, when work is only a few clicks away and intrudes on everything you do and everywhere you go, boundaries are more important than they have ever been. Yet many E.D.’s don’t maintain them. Do your best to set reasonable work hours, work as efficiently and effectively as you can in those hours, then go home. Delegate management tasks to others and create emergency plans, then take your vacation time. Stay home when you are sick and don’t work while you are sick if you can avoid it.
If you find you haven’t done any of these things by the end of the year, don’t beat yourself up! Just remember how important you are to your organization and do your best to take care of yourself, too.