Five Questions to Ask as an Overcommitted Volunteer

Between work, family and our volunteer commitments, it is very easy to end up overcommitted. If you are like me, family comes first and work comes next. Those are two constants, but I really enjoy following my passion for service to the organizations I care about as well.

We all enter into our volunteer commitments with the best of intentions. Perhaps something changed at home or work and the demands on your time changed. Maybe you were not clear on the time involved. Whatever the situation, it is important to address it quickly to ensure your commitment is fulfilled and your sanity stays intact.

Here are five questions to ask when you find yourself overcommitted:

1. What is required of me?

Work with leadership and staff to ensure you are clear on your volunteer commitment. Perhaps you are not on the hook for as much as you thought.

2. Can I delegate?

Find a trusted colleague or a fellow committee member to help you with your tasks. Recruit a co-chair or create a sub-committee to tackle part of the project. Communicate your needs early and often.

3. What am I passionate about?

Look at all your volunteer commitments and start being more particular about what you say yes to. Follow your passion because you will make time for what matters to you.

4. How can I find more time?

If you really want to pursue a volunteer opportunity, how can you make more time? Can you hire a maid once a month to help out with household chores? How about new strategies to be more productive at work?  

5. Should you back out?

Things change. It happens and it is OK. Talk to your staff liaison or leadership as soon as possible if you do not think you can meet the demands of your position. Perhaps you could help recruit a replacement. They will appreciate your candor and want to work with you in the future when you have more time.

Thanks to all those that volunteer their time!