Depending on your day job, maybe you get to set your schedule. In real-estate, I choose to set my schedule to include volunteering. Here is how I chose my volunteering organizations and tips on how to protect that time from work interference.
Choosing Volunteer Organizations
In the past I have been known to volunteer for everything that anyone asks me to do. That was fun but I did not leave time to work efficiently. Therefore I was not reaching my financial goals. It was time to organize and plan. I did not know how I would make my time work for both goals. So, I finished my commitments to the non-for profit boards and committee terms that I was on. Then I created my “Life By Design” spreadsheet. It included time with family. I designated Thursdays to be my volunteer days with family.
Now I had to decide where to volunteer. I knew that I wanted to spend time with my brother and cousin who both attended separate Day Programs for finding creative and innovative ways to provide hope and purpose for individuals with disabilities. After researching both locations, one said that I could not volunteer there, legal restrictions prevents volunteering. The other said yes. After taking many classes, passing many tests and a background check, I was scheduled to volunteer once a month with my cousin at The Centers For Habilitation (TCH) in Tempe, AZ.
At about the same time my niece, who was 10 years old at the time asked to volunteer with the homeless. With my nieces help, we learned that at that time there were no homeless organizations that would allow someone of her age to volunteer do to insurance and safety reasons. After asking around we found Lost Our Home (an animal shelter) in Tempe, AZ that would allow her to volunteer. She was thrilled.
Protecting Volunteer Time
Here are the 3 suggested tips to protect your time.
- In my work email signature, I include my hours of operations. I have included Thursdays as volunteer days.
- In my work voicemail, I state that Thursdays are my volunteer days.
- When I am interviewing clients (buyers and sellers), I share with them that on Thursday’s I volunteer.
It is simple, yet not many people are willing to do those 3 things. Once you do, you will be surprised on how respectful people are of your time. My clients all know where I am on Thursdays. Sometimes I will have an early work meeting or finish paperwork in the evening. However during volunteer time, my cell phone is off.
Volunteering with Family
Now when I volunteer, I am spending time with my family. We are experiencing events together and creating memories. Before when I was volunteering I was only creating memories for myself. My clients enjoy asking me on Friday, about the Thursday events. This has created a better relationship with my clients, that has turn into friendships.