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Guest Post by Mike Good: Carve Out Time to Volunteer and Discover Your Purpose, pt 2

9 Oct

This is part 2 of a guest post from Mike Good from TogetherInThis.com.

Last week in part 1, we discussed how volunteering can lead to discovering your purpose. Most people don’t because they simply don’t feel they have the time. It doesn’t have to be a big commitment, however. You just need to find 1 or 2 hours per month to get started.

 Create Time within Your Day

It starts with understanding the activities of your daily life. You need to objectively analyze each day for a couple of weeks. The best way to do this is by creating a daily log of your activities throughout the day. This should include everything from how long you shower in the morning to how much TV you watch at night.

Without this basic understanding, you won’t know where to make adjustments. But with the knowledge, you can develop strategies to move from chaos to being in control of your time. I created a spreadsheet just for you. You can download from my website here: Daily Log spreadsheet or if you’re not a spreadsheet person, grab yourself a large wall calendar.

MIke Good's chart

Each day, log the activities for the day. For fun, put 1 of 3 smiley faces next to each task – a smile, a frown, or a neutral. As your log takes shape, you will start to see trends. You will see the things that eat up the majority of your time. You will also see the things that you either like or dislike.

Change Things to Increase “Me” Time

Pay close attention to the amount of “me” time you have each week. Is your “me” time healthy and enriching your spirit or are you just passing time feeling blah?

Focus on the things you can easily change. Don’t march into work demanding a reduced work schedule – not at least until you have your ducks in a row. Instead, identify areas you can change by getting other people to help you. For instance, do you have a neighbor that drives the same route to your child’s school? I’ve seen parents come together via my neighborhood’s Facebook page to create carpool systems. Or maybe you are the caregiver for a parent and you can ask a sibling for help.

The goal is to identify areas where other people can assist you and eliminate tasks that make you unhappy. Once you have found just 1 hour, replace it with something that makes you feel good such as volunteering.

Volunteering can be as simple as helping your older neighbor who no longer drives or more involved like joining Global Volunteers as covered in Ruth’s article, Finding the Perfect Purposeful Project Fit: Global Volunteers. No matter where you start, be sure you find something that lifts your spirit. Don’t stick with something that becomes a chore. If it causes you to put a frowny face on your log, then it’s not the right thing for you, and you need to try again until you find the thing that awakens your purpose.

What do you think? Can volunteering benefit you and help you discover your purpose?

About the Author: Mike Good is founder of Together in This an online resource helping family caregivers succeed. If you’re caring for someone, be sure to grab his guide, The 3 Free Tools Successful Caregivers Use To Get Their Ducks in a Row, to help you get on the right track to successful caregiving. You can also join him on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

Guest Post by Mike Good: Carve Out Time to Volunteer and Discover Your Purpose, pt 1

2 Oct

I believe everyone wants to help others but life has a way of getting in our way. Intuitively, you know volunteering is not only a way to help others but a way to improve your health as well. Thankfully, I don’t have to bore you with statistics to substantiate my point because Ruth tells us that “It’s OK to speculate”, in her article, Time to Be Intentional About Living a Brain Healthy Life – yea!

Learning on the island

I know first hand that it’s hard to find time to volunteer let alone discover your purpose. For more than 20 years, I found myself consumed by a career that left little time for the pleasures in life, let alone volunteering. I never really had time to even consider it; after all, isn’t our purpose to work and pay the bills on time?

Volunteering Can Define Your Purpose

The step I took next is not recommended – I quit my job. I did so because I was unhappy and my spirit had been slowly taken from me. I didn’t realize, however, that I would soon find myself on a journey towards discovering my purpose. Volunteering wasn’t originally part of my plan. I planned to help older adults with technology so volunteering at the local senior center computer lab seemed like a good place to start. Although I enjoyed my time at the senior center, I was eventually drawn to helping people who are dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.

Volunteering has helped open my eyes to discover my purpose which is to help those that can’t help themselves. For me this includes both people dealing with Alzheimer’s and rescue animals that need a forever home.

Not a Huge Commitment

On the surface, volunteering may sound like a huge commitment but that’s not always the case. If you can spare just 1 hour a month, I guarantee you that someone can use your help. I also guarantee that if your volunteer work touches upon your purpose, you will magically find more time in your busy schedule. Why? Because if feels awesome!

Even if it’s not for volunteering, making extra time in your busy schedule for yourself is vital to your mental and physical well-being. As my friend Brenda Avadian over at The Caregiver’s Voice humorously tells us, even small breathers can keep us from a state-mandated vacation. Although her 3 minute video, The 5-minute Respite, is geared towards caregivers, her point pertains to all of us.

Do you want to volunteer but think you are too busy? Next week in part 2, we will discuss how you can carve out some time to get on the path to discovering your purpose through volunteering.

Do you find time to volunteer?

What are your experiences with making time to volunteer?

About the Author: Mike Good is founder of Together in This an online resource helping family caregivers succeed. If you’re caring for someone, be sure to grab his guide, The 3 Free Tools Successful Caregivers Use To Get Their Ducks in a Row, to help you get on the right track to successful caregiving. You can also join him on Facebook or Twitter.

 


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