Doing It Better

Every so often I have a day where I have absolutely no meetings of any kind and no imminently looming deadlines.

“Ahh,” I think. “Finally, a day when I can….”

But what I seem to be able to do on these days is mainly to waste time. Without fail, those are my least productive days.

Days when I am driving all over creation in LA’s horrid traffic, have something urgent due in 24 hours, and in between face to face meetings have phone meetings are the days when I seem to get a lot done.

I don’t think I am unique (well, maybe a little, but not about this). The more time I have to do something, the less I tend to do.

I have a similar issue when it comes to being creative in my work. I find, counter-intuitively, the more structured I am, the freer I am to be innovative in what I am doing.

That’s why I am a big advocate of a written plan—even if that plan takes the form of a (written!) to-do list. If I am going out to a meeting, I do far better if I consider what I want to get out of the meeting, and what I need to bring to the meeting to get my desired results.

After the meeting, I need to record what happened—or I’ll forget, and worse, I’ll forget the most important element. And then I need to consider my next steps.

When I follow these simple procedures, I get more done and I have more time to consider not just what I need to do but how to do it better.


Janet Levine works with nonprofits, helping them to increase their fundraising capacity, excite their boards, and get greater commitment from staff, volunteers, and donors. Learn how she could help you at Or email her and set up a free, 30-minute consultation.


About janetlevineconsulting

For over 20 years, Janet Levine has worked for and with nonprofit and educational organizations, helping to grow their advancement programs. Her consulting company, Janet Levine Consulting, serves a wide range of organizations from small, all-volunteer agencies to major national organizations. She regularly teaches courses in non-profit management, fundraising and grant development, both face-to-face and online at In addition to her nonprofit work, Janet brings years of experience as a business and sales manager in the for-profit sector. She has an MBA from the Graziadio School of Business at Pepperdine University.
This entry was posted in business practices, fundraising, productivity and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s