Time Management in a Multitasking Culture

Updated: Nov 18


Time always seems to be slipping away. Then 2020 hit, and time seems to have lost all meaning most days. We never can find the time, we never seem to have enough time, and we have difficulty prioritizing our time.


Nonprofit work involves time spent casting vision to leadership and donors, networking and building support, training staff or volunteers, time spent in administrative tasks, and more. So how do we best steward our time? How do we accomplish all that must be done? How can we make sure our priorities are in the correct order?


The one tip I can offer today is this: FOCUS.


Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”


Being diligent means showing care in our work and duties, taking care of each priority or task at hand. As nonprofit leaders, we tend to pride ourselves on multitasking. However, this could be to our detriment. Studies upon studies show that humans cannot do more than one thing at once. So instead, we switch between tasks, in turn taking longer than necessary to complete each task.


Look at these statistics:

  • Multitasking leads to as much as a 40% drop in productivity. (Harvard Business Review)

  • In a study of Microsoft employees, workers took, on average, 15 minutes to get back to intense mental tasks, like writing reports or computer code, after responding to e-mail or instant messages. (New York Times)

  • It takes more time to get things done when you try to multitask. People who are interrupted – and therefore have to switch their attention back and forth – take 50% longer to accomplish a task. (John Medina, Brain Rules)

  • Multitaskers make up to 50% more errors. (John Medina, Brain Rules)


How can we combat the temptation to multitask?


How can we get all of the work accomplished? Here are some practical tips:

1. Prioritize and Plan

Each day, layout the top items for that day. What must be done and cannot wait? Tackle those first.

2. Group Tasks

Group like items together so one task flows more effortlessly into another.

3. Eliminate Distractions

Set up boundaries and manage expectations. If you need to devote time to complete a project, block off your schedule, let everyone around you know you cannot be interrupted, close out any program, or turn off your phone for a set period.

4. Delegate

This one feels like common sense in the nonprofit world, but do you delegate tasks well? Or do you try to hold as much as you can yourself, so it’s “done well”? Train others well, delegate and provide guidance, and trust them with the work.


If Time and Project Management is an area you would like to improve, we would love to help. Impact Academy has a course on Time Management taught by network consultant Angelica Miller. You can enroll for this on-demand and Live learning platform created for nonprofit leaders led by the Collective Impact Network of Nonprofit Rockstars!


Learn more about Angelica Miller from the video below.