A Not-for-Profit Executive’s Guide to Better Time Management: Eat That Frog!
Mark Twain once said that, “If the first thing that you do when you wake up in the morning is to eat a live frog, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that’s probably the worst thing that’s going to happen to you all day long.” Self-development author Brian Tracy delves into this concept further in his book “Eat That Frog.” Tracy discusses how procrastination significantly impacts your productivity and ability to achieve success. Therefore, time management is essential and the key is to act on your biggest, ugliest task (i.e., your live frog) first.
So, as a not-for-profit executive, what’s your live frog? You may have many live frogs to tackle in your organization, but which one, if accomplished, will make the most difference? In the long run, what counts the most?
Time Management is as Easy as ABCDE
Like many time management advisors, Tracy recommends planning ahead and creating a list of all your to-do’s for the next day. His ABCDE method includes reviewing your to-do list carefully and assigning them as follows:
A – Activities that have serious potential consequences. These are the things that matter most to your organization
B – Activities that would be nice to do, but aren’t as serious as an A activity
C- Activities that would be fun to do, but have no consequences
After prioritizing your to-do list, the objective is to get your A tasks done – do these things well and do them quickly, and stop wasting time on lower value activities (B and C items). The D and E components of Tracy’s ABCDE method are “Delegate” and “Eliminate.” These are two important steps that many not-for-profit organizations and associations, as well as other small and medium-sized businesses have a hard time addressing, so let’s talk about these further:
Delegate: If you personally take care of your not-for-profit’s financial operations or have a non-accountant perform these duties along with other tasks on their plate, it’s time to consider delegating your bookkeeping and accounting tasks to an expert in that field. Have an experienced accounting services firm help you manage those areas outside your core competencies. For more on this, see my article on outsourcing.
Eliminate: Take a thoughtful look at your operations and identify ways to eliminate non-value-add tasks. From the bookkeeping and accounting perspective, this often can be done through integration and automation. For example, if you use QuickBooks Online, you can automatically download and categorize bank and credit card transactions, resulting in less manual processing. QuickBooks also syncs directly with many cloud-based apps, such as Bill.com and Expensify, to eliminate data entry for bills and expense transactions.
Eating the frog for many not-for-profit executives means focusing your precious time on meeting the needs of your members and program participants. Delegate your bookkeeping and accounting tasks and leverage accounting technology to eliminate low-value tasks on your to-do list. This can facilitate the success of your not-for-profit!
If you have questions and/or would like to pursue other actionable steps to ensure your business or not-for-profit organization’s continued success, please reach out to me. I’ll be happy to talk with you. Orin Schepps, Founder and CEO @consultanceaccounting https://www.consultancellc.com
Tracy, Brian. (2017). “Eat That Frog.” Berrett-Koehler Publishers, April 17, 2017.