For association board members it can be difficult to keep your association to-do lists organized, especially when your professional life gets hectic. I am here to provide some ideas on how you can stay organized in your day-to-day role as an association leader.

The fast-pasted association environment has taught me how to multi-task at a new level. This exciting setting has inspired me to share some guidelines that you can apply to your volunteer work as a volunteer association leader.

Your Work Environment Should Be Simple

By creating a separate environment where you are focusing on just association work, you are minimizing the possibility of getting distracted by other professional work.

Ensure that your workspace is free of any unnecessary items or clutter, and at the end of each day return it to that state. Beginning and finishing a session of volunteer work with a clean desk helps your mind feel more at ease. When you have paperwork from other projects cluttering your desk, it is difficult to stay focused on your volunteer tasks and easier to get overwhelmed. Keep papers in a designated tray or file.

You are more likely to focus on the task at hand if you have just one project out in front of you at a time. Colour code documents and electronic apps to help your brain organize tasks better. There’s no limit to how you can express and facilitate your mental transitions in this way.

Create Structure for Yourself

New work habits can be difficult to get into, especially for volunteer work. However, once you have these new behaviors in your daily routine, you will begin conserving a lot of energy. This extra energy can be directed towards

Each job will vary widely, but in all cases, you’re going to need a way to structure your work. Future tasks and events can be easily organized by phone apps and programs, along with the ability to schedule reminders and attach notes. Utilize platforms like Outlook and Clickup to organize your calendars and task lists.

Creating structure will help you get right into the task at hand – everything is organized before you start working on it. The prior-mentioned applications are also great for communicating with your fellow board members. If everyone knows the steps necessary to complete a task, along with the related responsibility of each step and task, your board will move much more smoothly through their to-do list.

Read my colleague’s article Organization and Time Management: Four Steps to Success to learn more.

Daily To-Do Lists

Creating a to-do list – ideally at the start of each day – and reviewing it throughout your day is a really good way to stay organized. Prioritizing your day and checking off your accomplishments as you complete them will help keep you focused on your tasks. It will also make you feel very accomplished.

Determine what is most important to accomplish that day and put that item at the top of your list. Organize your list by high priority to lowest priority. This will help you complete time sensitive tasks first. Perhaps, if you are a more visual person, you may benefit from outlining your tasks on paper. It’s good to have rituals that show that one task is done, and the other has begun. You can do this by physically crossing off tasks off your to do list and starting the task underneath it.

Use the Digital World Wisely

While phones and computers are useful for multitasking, having a rolodex of contact information on your desk may reduce the complications of switching from one app or program to another. This rolodex should include your fellow board members, committee members, and association staff at the very least. Simple things like this can go a long way in reducing stress and anxiety.

Remember that even if technology works for you, it may not work for everyone. Some association leaders may be more comfortable with pen and paper, while their fellow board members may prefer to work online. Try to resonate with all these people, because when everyone works together in sync, your life will be easier as well.

Following these suggestions is easier said than done, so be sure that your organizational methods work to benefit you and the way you think. If you are organized and relaxed, your work will be done more efficiently and more accurately. Try different styles and combinations of organization. When one works, remember above all to stick with it. Eventually, your method of organization will become a simple staple in your everyday work life.

Read The Organized Association Leader for more information.