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6 Ways To Get Time Back In Your Day, Every Day
From:
Kris Putnam-Walkerly -- Global Philanthropy Expert Kris Putnam-Walkerly -- Global Philanthropy Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Cleveland , OH
Monday, June 17, 2019

 

Time Back

Smart philanthropy starts with an effective approach to our work.

In philanthropy, we seem to be perpetually rushing from one thing to the next. There’s always an important meeting to prepare for or more grant applications to evaluate. Yet while everyone is feeling busy and moving quickly, the real change we seek comes along at the pace of snails. Instead of spending all of our valuable time working harder, we should also determine how we can work smarter.

We all get into daily work patterns—some of them healthy, some not. How often do you find yourself so focused on your to-do list that you’ve lost track of why you’re doing the work? Everyone can improve their work habits, and even if the changes are simply tactical, they can add up to a clear, focused approach to the job rather than an exercise in constantly putting out fires. To start focusing on impact instead of deadlines, we need to change the work patterns that hold us back and keep us from working at top efficiency. Here are six ways you can take charge of your schedule and capture more of your own time:

1. Don’t check email first thing in the morning. For many of us, this is a hard habit to break! You’re worried you might miss something important, so you start your day by clicking through endless emails. In reality, you’re giving control of your time and mental energy to others instead of starting your day focused on something you know you want to accomplish.

2. Set your top three priorities for the day right at the start. Make these priorities manageable, but not so tactical that you’ve finished them in the first hour. They are meant to help keep you focused and on track, not simply to be items you can tick off of a to-do list that you’ve created.

3. Spend the first hour of your day doing something creative or tackling something that’s causing you stress. Creative doesn’t mean you have to do something artistic—it means doing something that generates ideas or gives you energy. It might be taking the time to brainstorm your next funding initiative, thinking about how to reorganize your team or contemplating what professional development experiences can help you move forward. An equally effective alternative is to eliminate a stressor, whether that means installing better lighting in a dim office or figuring out how to terminate an ineffective professional partnership.

4. Prevent technology from taking over—no beeps or notifications. Ever. Go through your phone and computer and remove all the notifications (e.g., for new emails, breaking news stories and social media posts). Make this change permanent. It will help clear your head and eliminate constant distractions. Ruthlessly unsubscribe from unnecessary emails that are a drain on your time and offer you little substance. Send certain types of emails automatically into folders so you can peruse them later. Finally, check your email three times a day—not all day long.

5. Pick up the phone instead of sending multiple emails. It’s often true that email can be more efficient than a phone conversation, but when “just one quick email” becomes a back-and-forth conversation of multiple paragraphs, you know it’s time to pick up the phone. You may worry about interrupting someone, but you’d be surprised at how many people answer their phones (or Skype or Slack calls) and are happy to reach a fast conclusion in a personal conversation instead of sending back yet another email. And if you can’t contact the person directly, you might reach an assistant who can help you schedule a meeting or find the information you need.

6. Assign it to someone else. As a general rule, if someone else can do the work, hand it off. Assign certain tasks to another staff member or consultant so you can focus on the work that only you can tackle. For managers, that might mean having staff summarize their performance discussions with you and then emailing you those write-ups. If their summary is accurate, great—file it away. If it’s not, reply with corrections and then file. You’ve dispersed the work, and you’ve helped your staff understand and internalize the conversations.

The goal of these time-saving tips is not to create efficiency for efficiency’s sake. It’s to do our work better, make smarter investments in our time and change more people’s lives.

Increasing your philanthropy impact and freeing up your time for your most important work sometimes requires getting outside help from a trusted advisor—someone who can guide you along every step of the way—so you’re always working smarter.

I’ve been serving as a trusted advisor to various foundations, ultra-high net worth donors, and Fortune 500 companies for more than 20 years—helping them figure out the best ways to change the world, rapidly implement their strategy and continuously learn along the way.

If you think I can help you, let’s talk! Schedule a call with me, and we can discuss your options and see how we can increase the impact of your philanthropy.

Schedule a Call With Me

This article was originally written for and published by Forbes.

© 2019 Kris Putnam-Walkerly. All rights reserved. Permission granted to excerpt or reprint with attribution.

About Kris Putnam-Walkerly

I’m a global philanthropy expert, advisor and award-winning author. I help ultra-high net worth donors, celebrities, foundations and Fortune 500 companies dramatically increase the clarity, speed, impact and joy of their giving. I’m the author of Confident Giving: Sage Advice for Funders, was named one of “America’s Top 25 Philanthropy Speakers”(along with U2’s Bono!), I write about philanthropy for Forbes.comAlliance MagazineDe Dikke Blauwe and am frequently quoted in leading publications such as BloombergNPRand WSJ.

Whether you are just getting started in philanthropy, want to refresh your giving strategy, or need to catapult yourself to your desired future, I can help. Let’s talk! Call me at +1-800-598-2102 x1, email me at kris@putnam-consulting.com or schedule a call.

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“Kris brings a rare and unique perspective to her philanthropy consulting that makes it easy for us to bring our best selves to our work as grantmakers. It’s clear that she has invested in her own knowledge and capacity and has shared that with our field. In addition, she holds herself and her practice to the highest standards of integrity, honesty, clear thinking and creativity, and she helps our organization do the same.”

Ronn Richard, CEO, The Cleveland Foundation

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Want to learn more? Visit my website to learn how I help funders, access free resources, and read client testimonials.

Additional Reading

About Kris Putnam-Walkerly

Kris Putnam-Walkerly, MSW is a global philanthropy advisor and president of Putnam Consulting Group, Inc. For more than 20 years, top global philanthropies have requested Kris Putnam-Walkerly's help to transform their giving and catapult their impact. Widely considered to be one of the most sought-after philanthropic advisors, Kris has helped over 80 foundations and philanthropists strategically allocate and assess over half a billion dollars in grants and gifts. 

As a philanthropy expert, advisor and award-winning author, Kris's clients include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, J.M. Smucker Company, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Heising Simons-Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, Walton Family Foundations, Avery Dennison, and Fujitsu, among dozens of others.

A thought leader in transformational giving, Kris was named one of America's Top 25 Philanthropy Speakers for two years in a row. She is the author of the award-winning book Confident Giving: Sage Advice for Funders and the forthcoming book Delusional Altruism (Wiley; February 2020); a regular Forbes.com contributor on philanthropy; a global content partner to Alliance Magazine; and authored a chapter on "Transformational Giving: Philanthropy as an Investment in Change" in a new book on impact investing, The ImpactAssets Handbook for Investors. Kris is also a frequent contributor in the publications of leading philanthropy organizations, including the National Center on Family Philanthropy, Exponent Philanthropy, Southeastern Council on Foundations, Foundation Center, PEAK Grantmaking, and Giving Northern Ireland. Kris also provides expert commentary about philanthropy in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Washington Post, Entepreneur.com, and other media. Most recently, she was featured on NPR's Marketplace Morning Report and in Bloomberg Markets magazine. She co-edited The Foundation Review's themed journal on philanthropy consulting. In 2017 Kris was inducted into the Million Dollar Consulting® Hall of Fame, one of only 75 consultants chosen world-wide.

Prior to forming Putnam Consulting Group, she was a grantmaker at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and an evaluator at the highly esteemed Stanford University School of Medicine.

 
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