I know a number of people who volunteer for a host of recreational events, as well as with non-profit / charitable organizations. It’s a lot of time management on their part, but to them, it helps them maintain a balance in their lives.
We can’t be all work and no play. Yet we can’t be all causes and no work either. Finding that life balance and using common sense to keep things positive – is a gift.
In the business world, common sense sometimes gets uprooted by causes. Taking up a cause can, in reality, become a distraction toward your own professional goals if not monitored. Sometimes you have to tell your friends “no”, and do what is right for the organization and yourself. I am not suggesting that you stop volunteering, but rather you look at your own goals, and see what really matters most – find that life balance.
Listing your goals and identifying causes that match your organization is called strategic planning. You have to think in terms of “how can this cause benefit my organization and give me a personal outlet to express myself”? It is true that your personal time is your time, but if it involves doing things that disrupt the company image – you might want to switch causes, or at least tame it down a bit.
What you do and say in your private life can directly influence your work life. Some organizations have deep set and personal relationships with non-profits and charities. Others use their resources to sponsor special events and/or educational endeavors. Know your organization, and don’t step on toes – especially your bosses toes. Use your common sense and align yourself with organizations that have like-minded causes.
You don’t have to become volunteer or citizen of the year to prove you have a caring nature. Those people are professional volunteers, and work probably isn’t too high on their agenda. If you are too involved in causes, work can suffer. Knowing when to say no is important. You can’t expect others to carry the load for you in the office, or out in the field.
I would love to be a professional volunteer and get paid for it. Who wouldn’t? That would be the ultimate dream job. But common sense tells me that I have to have a life balance between the many causes and work. I hope you too have the common sense to know what your limitations are.
Volunteering your time and energy is a great way to give back to the community. But if the community is taking too much of your time, you might want to scale it back a little. They will understand. Don’t stop completely, just don’t burn yourself out. Allow others to help out too.