For the past couple years, I've been heading up a nonprofit health organization in addition to my day job and other social obligations. We don't make any money, so all our events are funded out of my own pocket. I don't mind the expense as I have money to spare, but I'm starting to feel a huge strain on my time.
All the hours spent maintaining e-mail lists and preparing health presentations are sucking the life out of me, but I'd hate to step down and see the organization die. We've grown to over 100 members since we began.
I've talked to other active members about the possibility of one of them taking over, but no one seems interested. Is there a way to combat burnout without giving up?
-- Reluctant Leader
Dear Reluctant Leader,
I was listening to a radio program the other day and a career coach was talking about managing time wisely. She asked the radio host if he'd rather give someone five minutes or $5. He said "five minutes."
But according to the career coach, the better answer would have been "$5." Why? Because you can always make more money, but you can't make more time. Using your time wisely is the key to enjoying life.
So don't waste your time on something you really don't want to do or don't have time for. If you really care about keeping this organization going, figure out a way to cut back your responsibilities.
You mentioned that other members aren't interested in assuming the lead role, but perhaps a few wouldn't mind taking on smaller tasks. One person could manage that pesky e-mail list and another could assist you with the presentations, for example.
Try taking some time away from the group. Dole out responsibilities to willing members, and see if they get done while you're away. If they do, you've got yourself some decent help. If they can't handle the group without you, try running an ad in the newspaper (hint: we offer free online classifieds in the one you're reading now) for a new leader.
In the end, just remember to put your own interests and time before that of anyone else. It's your life, after all. And when time is gone, it's gone.
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