Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

Posted by on Jan 6, 2012 | 0 comments

It’s Friday. I should be lifting a TGIF toast, but instead I am back in my office after a few days of vacation. And it’s tough!

As any fundraiser knows, the holidays are not vacation time for a development professional. December is a huge month for giving and the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is the biggest 7-day period of giving in a year. So, there’s no after-Christmas time off for fundraisers, at least not for this one: I worked December 26 through late on New Year’s Eve. My break started on January 1st and ended mid-day yesterday. So, yes, I’m back…and trying to regroup on a Friday.

How about you? Were your holidays as wonderful and hectic as mine, with work and family and friends and food and celebrations? If so, you are welcome to join me on this late Friday afternoon (PST) as I ponder what needs to happen for me to “get back into the swing of things”.

Let’s start with new 2012 calendars:

  1. Replace 2011 wall and desk calendars with 2012 updates.

And now, the desk:

  1. Sort and stack papers, bills, files, Christmas cards, etc.
  2. Toss old Christmas candy, treats, etc.
  3. File anything that does not require action (yes, I said it: File!)
    • Office Files – for papers you need to keep
    • Circular File – for anything you don’t need and won’t need
  4. Divide remaining items into UNOPENED MAIL, URGENT, TOMORROW, and READ ONLY piles.

Next step, snail mail:

  1. Unopened mail: Open it, toss most of it.
  2. Put remaining mail into URGENT, TOMORROW, and READ ONLY piles.
  3. Send any thank you notes that were missed in the late December haze (I consider this URGENT).
  4. Write personal notes to supporters who sent a holiday card or gift (I consider this URGENT).
And now, voice mail:
  1. Listen to your voice mail messages
    • Take notes, then delete
    • Return calls that are extremely urgent and past due
    • Sort voice mail notes into URGENT AND TOMORROW piles.
And we can’t forget the dreaded InBox:
  1. If you haven’t been managing your email while away, you’ve got a lot to do!
    • Read, sort, respond
    • Flag as appropriate, per whatever system you use
    • Delete, delete, delete
Finally, the piles:
  1. URGENT – get through this pile quickly and ASAP. Respond, call, email, etc.
  2. TOMORROW – work on this pile as you have time, obviously today’s tomorrow can also become tomorrow’s tomorrow, and etc.
  3. READ ONLY – sort this pile into 1) items you want to read in your office and 2) items you want to take home.
    • Read as time allows.
And last, but not least, the briefcase:
  1. Remove all Christmas ribbons, holiday bags of homemade goodies that you forgot about, and toss them (don’t eat them!).
  2. Reorganize your briefcase to match your URGENT, TOMORROW, and READ ONLY piles.
Through this entire process you should be calendaring “To Do’s” from voice mail, email, snail mail, and paperwork on your electronic calendar – whichever one you use.
Now, take a deep breath and look around. You’re ready for Monday! And TGIF!

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