10 ways to improve your time management

Campaigning for a better, fairer world takes time. For many climate activists, there’s so much to do, but life often gets in the way. Check out these tips to manage your time more effectively.

17 Nov 2020

We all wish we had more time and Climate Action group members are no exception. In fact, 68% of those surveyed cited family and work commitments as the main barriers to them taking more effective climate action.

However, there are many simple ways to save time while getting a lot more done. Whether it's planning, sharing the workload, or forming a micro-habit, why not try some of these 10 tips to get more campaigning work done in less time, and enjoy yourself while doing it?

1. Enjoy yourself

It might sound simple, but having fun while you campaign will make you and your group members want to make the time for it. Try to think about how you can make all your activity enjoyable, from big events to regular meetings. Check out our tips for holding great meetings and remember, campaigning should never feel like a chore.

2. Map out your time

Chat together as a group, establish how much time everyone has, and let that inform your plans. Target specific events in the calendar, such as a tree planting day or meeting with your local councillor, and work steadily towards them.

Not everyone has a lot of free time, but the more accommodating you can be with people's schedules, the more people will want to join in and take action.

3. Outline a 6-month plan

It’s easy to move from week to week or meeting to meeting but stepping back and making a 6-month plan will help you think about your campaign activity in a more sustained way.

It's worth remembering that campaigns usually have peaks of activity followed by periods of reflection and planning, so try to structure your campaign with this in mind. Think about when there are key opportunities to focus your energy on and be comfortable taking a bit of a break after they've passed. Your fellow group members will respond better to this approach and you'll all get more work done!

4. Recruit at every opportunity

Think about every activity in terms of recruiting new members. Design activities to bring in newcomers and increase your capacity. The more fun and innovative an activity, the more people will want to join your group. Remember campaigning should be a way to make new friendships too.

Have an outreach person or working group vetting all your activity and making suggestions for how it can be tailored to get more members. The more people that join your group, the more time you’ll have.

5. Check how SMART your plan is

Check the time effectiveness of your activities and plans. Is the activity you've chosen the best use of your time? Use the SMART method to assess everything your group does.

6. Avoid burnout

Doing too much often leads to burnout, but doing too little can lead to people getting bored and dropping out of your group. It’s a good idea to use group meetings to regularly ask members how they feel about the workload and activity of the group.

7. Appoint "seconders" for important tasks

If someone can’t carry out an action allocated to them, make sure you designate a second group member to pick it up just in case. Create a supportive culture in your group so people are willing to ask for help, happy to give it, and no one feels like they have homework to do.

8. Make activism a micro-habit

If you’re having trouble managing your time, try using the micro-habits approach. Set aside 15 minutes a day for your activism. Start a timer and finish what you’re doing when it goes off. Be strict on yourself as the goal here is to develop good, sustainable habits.

Didn’t finish that email to a councillor tonight and your 15 minutes is up? Maybe it can wait until tomorrow. In a few weeks, activism will be built into your daily routine and you'll get much more satisfaction out of it. You can then increase the time limit if you like, but make sure you take at least a few days off.

9. Don't reinvent the wheel

Ask on Slack to see if another group has solved an issue you’re having trouble with or created a handy resource for making a task easier. Remember to get in touch with us to check with staff too. If it hasn't been done already, maybe this is our cue to change that.

10. Experiment with new ideas

Sometimes there’s no perfect way to proceed in activism. Don’t overthink the next step, or be afraid to try something out and learn from it. This can often breathe life into your group and open up new avenues for your campaign. Always think of activism as a space you can bring your creativity to.

Resources
Climate Action