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Watch Your Volunteer Time

Freelance Writing ClockYikes! I just spent the last two hours on two volunteer projects.

Okay, I”m wonderful for volunteering, right? And both are projects I really believe in. But neither will earn me any money and mornings are my best writing times.

One will be over in a couple of months. The other is ongoing but focused around a monthly meeting. And today we were getting ready for a special project.


One of the problems is I  write (thanks Gary) so darn easily. I can throw together the copy for a flyer in not much time at all. I can handle the revisions easily too. Why, when you’re working with a committee are there so many revisions? sigh

Normally I would have done the volunteer work in the afternoon, leaving earning time in the mornings where, for me, it belongs but today’s schedule doesn’t allow that.

Instead I used what I consider prime writing time, time I use for my own writing and my very best clients, to do the volunteer writing.

That’s okay once and awhile. But it’s so tempting sometimes not to do the work that either pays or will bring in money and do the stuff that’s nice to get done and for which I’ll get an almost immediate thanks.

Besides, my writing is, well, not nearly as interesting as it was when I began it – isn’t that always the way?


So, I drew the line on these two volunteer jobs – told someone to call me if they needed more later today, and emailed info about the other project. Now I’m reminding myself to set boundaries, establish limits and use that complete sentence I was talking about the other day: No!

How do you limit your volunteer activities?

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{ 4 comments… add one }
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  • I am afraid I am as guilty as you, Anne, on intruding into my “prime time” – whether that’s volunteering or some other activity. i know mornings are my time and I need to discipline myself better about not intruding on that time.

    As you know, I am training for the San Diego 3-Day, 60-mile Walk for Breast Cancer. Since it is so hot here, my usual training at 3 PM will not work.

    I thought about walking in the morning, but threw that out as it’s my prime time. Instead, I am going to an air-conditioned mall or working out on my air-stepper. I don’t like either very much, but I just said “No” to my inner voice that wanted to walk during prime time.
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  • Gary

    I tend to find that my time spent volunteering or helping others for free is too much than is good for me or my business. I can try and kid myself that I’m doing it to build a reputation and get noticed, but I often feel more like doing the volunteer stuff than the necessity work that pays the bills!

    In my case, my main voluntary project does have the chance of turning into something that could bring in some substantial payment, so I’m caught in the middle right now.

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