Why do your board members call you evenings and weekends? Step into their lives for a minute. Since most board members work, it’s natural for them to focus on their volunteer activities during non-working hours. If people call you regularly on weekends and evenings, for non-emergency matters, it’s because you’ve failed to set healthy professional boundaries.
Yes, the board’s your boss. You want to be available, but not at the cost of your life balance. Your downtime improves your health. It enhances the well-being of your organization. In turn, your board’s downtime refreshes their lives.
Therefore, establish early and often “office hours.” For instance, during individual board member orientations, note that you’re both really busy. Share that you’ve found several best times to connect with members between meetings. Then list several specific hours. Ask for their best time amongst these. Remind them that they can always call and leave a message or send an email or text, but unless it’s an emergency, you’ll return the call during their preferred times.
That establishes how to set office hours early, how might you get them to work? Reserve the hours to return messages. Batch your responses to emails, calls, and texts. Make them during those times. Consistently offer them as call back times. It’s a little like establishing a path in the woods, use it often and you’ll soon knock away the the grass and shrubs.
Once you establish office hours, this doesn’t mean you’ll never have a conversation during the evening or weekends; those conversations will just be special. Weekends and evening are times to tend to life’s essentials, to be present with our families, to fill our brains with new ideas, and to let existing ones settle into new patterns. If you don’t establish office hours for yourself, establish them for your organization. If not you, who else will do the deep thinking that needs doing for your nonprofit?
For more about getting your life back, read this post: Help! How Do We Get Off this Event Treadmill? You will learn:
• How to articulate your why’s before you plan an event and measure results
• How to identify event alternatives
• How to get a copy of Karen’s event measurement tool
P.S. What boundaries have you set with your board, please leave a brief comment below about your results.
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