Whether your plans include greeting the day with a morning workout, a fresh cup of coffee, or enjoying an opportunity to sleep in, there is one thing that several people can look forward to on Sunday, Nov. 1: the end of Daylight Saving Time. This is the rare occasion each year we get to add one extra hour to our day. Although this additional hour only exists for one day, it provides a great opportunity to review 4 simple steps that can be used to evaluate and repurpose our time most effectively to create successful outcomes throughout the year.

Step 1 – Reflect:

The first step is reflecting on how you are currently allocating your time. Do you spend the majority of your day at meetings? Making phone calls? Planning events? Sending emails? Knowing how you are utilizing your time is key in recognizing how you can make adjustments to become even more effective. A simple way to do this is to use the one hundred hour rule. After accounting for meals and sleep, we all have about one hundred hours in a given week. Knowing how you are using those one hundred hours is critical to determining where you can find some efficiencies. Take next week to track your hundred hours and let’s see what it reveals.

Step 2 – Analyze:

As you identify where your time is being spent, analyze each area to determine where you are successful and where you would like to improve performance. It is important to keep the “Locus of Control” in mind during this process, as each area can be categorized as something you can control, something you can influence, or something you have no control over. As Warren Buffet noted, “You’ve gotta keep control of your time, and you can’t unless you say no. You can’t let people set your agenda in life.” Focus on those things that you can control and influence, and limit or exclude spending time on those things that you cannot.

Step 3 – Prioritize:

Once you have determined your areas of focus, strategize how you can be more efficient going forward. Where will you “choose” to invest your time? There are several tools and processes that may be helpful in doing this; one that we provide is the Priority Grid. This tool allows you to identify with which of the specific donors you will spend your time. It takes a small upfront investment of time to analyze the portfolio and identify where donors are located, but in the long run this allows you to focus your daily efforts. As a team at Northwestern University recently identified, it is likely you will ultimately yield more significant philanthropic results by staying focused on the top potential donors in your portfolio.

Step 4 – Take Action:

A final step for implementing your new time management strategy will be developing an action plan. Keeping yourself accountable as you transition into your new routine is important. Take the time to check in, review your progress, and evaluate any additional changes that may be helpful.

Having more time in the day once a year is great, but knowing how to utilize the time you actually have more effectively is even better. As a resource in redefining your time management strategy, we invite you to download our Priority Grid, located in myAR under “Print Resources.”