Are you thinking about starting a new project, joining a new club or learning a new hobby? Are you always being asked to serve as a volunteer, on a board or committee? The first question you should ask yourself is how much time, money, and energy will this cost? Make sure you have a good idea of the actual costs before you say yes.
How much time? How much time does the commitment require? Are there meetings to attend (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.)? How long are the meetings? Are the meetings during the workday, after hours or on the weekend? In addition to meetings, how much time does the average person spend reviewing documents or working on tasks between meetings? You want to make sure you have a complete count of the time needs vs. your availability. Time is valuable. You only get 24 hours daily minus sleep. Protect it! Say no if it requires too much time.
How much money? Will you be required to pay dues, fees or make donations? Will you have to buy tickets to anything (an annual gala, conferences, concerts, shows or games, etc.)? Are there other expenses? Do you have to contribute to a soup kitchen, food drive, shelter supply closet, or team uniforms? Will you have to travel? Small costs can add up quickly. Can you afford it all?
I served on a board once that served a lite meal at each board meeting. The committees took turns providing the food. If it was my committee’s turn, I had to share in the cost. Also, I had to make an annual donation plus the price of tickets to two events each year. Bottom line – try to get a realistic idea of the costs for the commitment. I have seen good people forced to resign or stop a commitment due to the financial burden. Say no if it requires too much money.
How much energy? This is the hardest one of all. Most people don’t think about energy cost. Have you heard the saying, “A meeting of the minds but the minds didn’t show.” Well each of us has a finite amount of mental energy to spend each day. All commitments require mental energy. Sometimes, a lot of mental energy! It’s important to show up to commitments with a clear, well-rested mind. If you’re asked to serve on a committee or board, they want you to do more than show up and keep the chair warm. Don’t forget to add stress to mental energy for a total score. Say no if the mental score is too high.
Why did I write this? There are always needs to serve on committees, boards, sports teams, church groups and the like. It’s a great way to learn, grow, network, give back or make a difference. However, I have seen people get involved in projects and it not work out. In most cases, the relationship failed due to a misunderstanding of time, money or energy commitments. I don’t want it to happen to you.
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