7.26 The Downtime of Summer

Recently here at GIFT we have been discussing downtime and how to make the best use of it.  We haven’t been talking about it so much because we have a lot of it, but because folks seem to use this slow fundraising season to relax and rejuvenate before Fall is here.  We are in the full swing of summer, when kids are off from school, professionals are vacationing and the general office pace seems to be slightly more relaxed in the not-for-profit world.

As the new Executive Director, I am eager and excited to learn all about GIFT and the work we do but I am confronted daily with the reality of having started a new position in mid-June.  So how does one remain motivated and on task when everyone else seems to be on vacation? What can you take care of now so that you can hit the ground running come fall fundraising season?  I decided to do a little digging around online for some helpful tips and below are a few that I found.  While not all of them are going to apply to everyone, I believe there are some healthy nuggets that we could all be introduced to or have a refresher on.

On the Simple Productivity Blog there is a 10-ways to be productive during downtimes list.  Some of my favorites include; reviewing/updating your calendar, updating your resume, updating your personal goals and cleaning out your email box.

That last one was particularly interesting to me so I was excited there was a link to teach me how to be an “Email Ninja”;if you are anything like me your email box is cluttered, and reading it can be anxiety inducing.  The tips provided here were helpful and I was happy someone else had given some thought to my email worries.

Finally in my search I found a blog that has some pretty rad suggestions on how to “Mind the Gap.” Although this one is geared towards freelance graphic designers, I think some valuable lessons can be taken away for the freelance fundraising professionals out there, including “Building your Network” and “Get Reading.”

In the end, managing our downtime will be an ever evolving process by which we find what works best for ourselves.  As I looked up tips for using my time wisely I was able to reflect on my own personal style.  For me that made the conversation worthy enough.

I hope that at least some of the tips resonate with you and motivate you to make your own “downtime plan.”  As a person who normalizes working under stress and in the crunch of it all, accessing possible alternatives forms of behavior has been helpful.  Let me know what you all think in the comments.