• Wednesday, November 22, 2017 8:07 AM | Regina Pinney (Administrator)

    Regina Pinney

    Executive Director


    From the moment we are brought into this world, we begin to hear how important it is to be kind to others. Whether it was sharing your toys with a sibling, or including someone at recess, shoveling a neighbor’s driveway, delivering a meal to a sick friend,  we have always been encouraged to give to others. While we heard it often, most of us never questioned the phrase, “Sharing is caring.” That is, until we grew older.

    It happens to all of us at some point. We begin to question if our efforts are really worth it. We begin to calculate if we have enough resources to allocate to others. Eventually, the kid who valued the idea of sharing whenever possible begins to question if they should even share at all. I’m here to tell you to that you are more influential than you think and that every act of giving you perform creates a butterfly effect that changes the world.

    Giving your time or a donation to an organization creates a shockwave. A small donation to an organization can help carry out a mission that inspires others to give as well. Giving your time can inspire others to join an organization or be the extra boost it needed to succeed. Helping spread a message can help educate someone that otherwise would never be exposed to it.

    You see, the simple act of giving is not so simple. Sir Isaac Newton's first law states that every object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force. 

    As long as you are trying, as long as you are giving in some way, you are that external force. 

    You are the difference maker. 

    You don’t have to give a million-dollar donation to make a shockwave, you can it give your time to help build a playground. A playground where someone may learn for the first time that “sharing is caring.”

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  • Thursday, November 09, 2017 12:51 PM | Katena Cain (Administrator)

    Katena Cain

    Management Consultant


    Bridges Out of Poverty is the most important work that I do as an employee at Nonprofit Network. We have been teaching this model to organizations and individuals for over three years, training city staff, hospital residents, housing sector employees, school districts, medical professionals, police departments, and so many more. 

    That’s 30 organizations and over 3,000 individuals.

    Bridges Out of Poverty is a proven way to counter poverty and its impact on people and businesses in your community. And it’s working.

    In fact, here are the immediate changes one group that serves and employs people living in deep poverty implemented as a result of our work with them:

    • All employees can request half of their paycheck early to help prevent the need for payday loan services
    • All forms have been rewritten in plain language
    • To increase staff's accessibility to residents that cannot take time off work, staff now works four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days.
    • Baskets of toiletries, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies are available to staff

    In September 2017, an updated revision of Bridges out of Poverty resources and materials were released. I traveled to St. Louis and spent three days immersed in the content and sharpening my skills and knowledge as a certified trainer of the Bridges material. This training and the updated material have changed the way I teach Bridges Out of Poverty. If you have already been to a training, it’s time for you to come back for a refresher and new insights.

    If you haven’t experienced Bridges Out of Poverty before – or are ready to take the next step – then now is the time to take action. The insights and strategies you learn have the potential to transform your entire community.

    Nonprofit Network’s vision is to transform nonprofits to transform the world, and this work is making that vision a reality.

    For more information on Bridges or to sign up for an upcoming public workshop—there’s one on the November 28th—visit our website or reach out to me. I love to talk about this work.

    Want to know more about having a customized Bridges Out of Poverty session for your organization? 

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  • Friday, October 20, 2017 9:27 AM | Deleted user

    Carrie Heider Grant

    Program Coordinator


    As a capacity building center, Nonprofit Network teaches best practices for nonprofits. Depending on your organization's size, stage, structure, or mission, there may be some variables in how you should operate and govern.  But there are some things that are universal and apply to us all. 

    Myself? I'm a data person who values evidence and solid science when it comes to my perspective on the world.  So if I told you that there is a way to improve the quality of conversations and decisions at your board and staff level that may take you out of your comfort zone, andwith enough hard work and planningwill be worth every minute, would you bite?

    I recently came across some research from 2008 that looks at the impact of diversity on group functioning—specifically on how a newcomer impacts decision-making and the quality of decisions made by a group.

    Here’s a breakdown of how they conducted the research:

    50 fraternity and sorority members were placed in same-gender groups of four people each. Every group comprised three members of the same fraternity or sorority (the “oldtimers,”) with a fourth person who was either another member of that same fraternity or sorority (an “in-group”) or was a member of a different one (an “out-group).

    The old-timers came together in their individual groups after reading a series of interviews from a murder investigation and discussed which suspect was most likely the murderer. Their task was to discuss the case for 20 minutes and reach consensus on the culprit. After five minutes, the fourth person—either an in-group or an out-group—joined them.

    Here are three of the most significant findings from this study and some suggestions for how you might apply them to your own organization:

    1) The groups that were all in the same fraternity or sorority (oldtimers + in-group newcomer) were more often wrong in their final decision. While the groups that had an out-group person added to the mix were more frequently correct. Having a homogeneous group was a clear disadvantage.

    Study your recruitment strategies at the board and program level.  How are you ensuring that you are bringing people to the table who have different perspectives and experiences?  

    2) The out-group newcomer didn’t necessarily bring in new ideas. But rather their presence raised the water level of the quality of the group’s discussion. The presence and influence of an outsider disrupted the cognitive processing and the exchange of information within the group. This study specifically sought to “determine whether the benefits of newcomers only occur when they brought in a new idea.” The results overwhelmingly demonstrated that the advantage of an out-group newcomer was most valuable when they did not bring in a new idea

    Examine your culture.  How are you intentionally building relationships in your group that allow for discussion and constructive conflict?  Are you allowing newcomers to influence your discussions? How are you planning crucial conversations to grow your capacity and effectiveness?

    3) When the 20-minute discussion ended, the groups were surveyed about their experience. As you might expect, the groups of like-minded people were more comfortable during the process—but they were also more confident that they chose the correct answer. The groups with an out-group newcomer reported being more uncomfortable during the process and less confident in the accuracy of their decision—even though they were right!

    Evaluate your effectiveness. Do your perceptions line up with how well your organization is actually performing? Measure the data and identify how to improve as a whole.

    Nonprofit Network strives to be a model of inclusion. We engage all people with dignity and respect. We believe that bringing diverse individuals together is essential to effectively address the issues that face current and prospective partners.

    We know that conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion can be difficult and uncomfortable.  But we also know that they can be enormously valuable and it is imperative that the nonprofit sector pursues these values.

    Looking for more general information? Check out this resource page from the National Council of Nonprofits. 

    Nonprofit Network has worked tirelessly for the past three years with the team at Michigan Nonprofit Association to build a comprehensive tool that assesses an organization's practices. This Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Assessment is one the many ways we can walk with you to build your capacity. 

    If you're ready to talk about how you can move your organization forward in this critical work, let us know.

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  • Thursday, September 28, 2017 10:08 AM | Sharon Castle (Administrator)

    Sharon Castle
    Capacity Builder


    “The three most important ways to lead people are: by example…by example…by example.” - Albert Schweitzer

    Fundraising doesn’t happen in a vacuum. If you want to move your organization toward a culture of fundraising lead by example – educate and advocate on behalf of your organization; make a personal gift and volunteer to assist in areas for which you are not responsible.

    As a consultant, I often find myself repeating to potential clients, “If you want to hire me to fundraise for you, I’m not that kind of consultant. Effective fundraising is the product of a cohesive organization with strong and viable programs where all members are engaged in fundraising. What I can do is help you strengthen your fundraising capability and success.”

    The strongest fundraising programs are often found within organizations that embrace a culture of philanthropy. Merriam Webster defines philanthropy as “goodwill to fellow members of the human race; especially: active effort to promote human welfare.” And, “an act or gift done or made for humanitarian purposes.”

    Creating a culture of philanthropy does not happen overnight – particularly in organizations that have been without such a culture – and requires the buy-in of everyone, including grounds keeping and housekeeping staff to administrators to volunteers helping run a program or answering phones to the board chair and everyone in between. Turning the corner and establishing a culture of philanthropy can be done with time, patience and buy-in from board, staff and volunteer leadership. 

    Here are some strategies that you can start using today:

    Include all staff in fundraising activities and treat them well. I organized a grand opening event and invited the program staff to attend with the one stipulation that they sit among donors and enjoy dinner. Unbeknownst to me, I was breaking a long-standing tradition of not inviting staff or inviting them with the understanding they would take tickets, help set up or tear down or some other chore. I held my ground and, in the short term, was the beneficiary of a grateful program staff and donors who were regaled with interesting stories. In the long term, the program folks understood the importance of being ambassadors for the organization and became my link to prospective donors.

    Ask program staff their goals and aspirations. Encourage them to share program stories including struggles and successes. This will help build trust and provide a link between program and fundraising. As a development officer, I shared my annual goals with program staff and asked them to share theirs with me.

    Include fundraising as part of the recruitment and orientation of board members, volunteers and staff so they understand and view it as “part of the whole” and as well as their role in encouraging a philanthropic culture.

    When recruiting board members, ask them where they think they best fit in the philanthropic process. It may be by acting as an ambassador for programs; hosting a small gathering of friends to learn more about your organization, and of course making a personal gift.

    And, most importantly: Lead by example…lead by example...lead by example.

    Learn more about creating a culture of philanthropy at Moving Your Organization from Fundraising to Philanthropy on September 14.  

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  • Thursday, September 14, 2017 8:06 AM | Tom Williams (Administrator)

    Tom Williams

    Capacity Builder


    What comes to your mind when you hear the word "discipline?" Is it a child is being punished as a result of misbehaving? Does it bring to mind the restriction of choices from being part of a highly organized group like a military battalion or a high school marching band? I encourage you to not let the negative definition restrict you from giving the results oriented version proper consideration. Over the next few hundred words, I want to put the word discipline in context of nonprofit success. I want to make the case that it is a positive practice that will transform your organization.

    The well respected business and nonprofit management author Jim Collins tells us discipline is the difference being a "good" nonprofit and being a "great" nonprofit. In his short, 40-page monograph called “Good to Great In the Social Sector,” he shares being a great nonprofit is the result of being disciplined in three specific ways.

    3 Disciplines of the Best Nonprofits:

    1) Disciplined people are those that are absolutely on fire for the organization’s mission and deliberately surround themselves with like-dedicated people that will act on that ambition to see the mission be reached. 

    2)  Disciplined thought is that consistent effort to address whatever issue is between you and mission obtainment and to operate in the specific space where your passion, resources and your niche in the community intersect.

    3) Disciplined actions are those that operate in the framework of responsibilities and the relentless building of incremental progress to obtain, increase and benefit from organizational momentum.

    Collins makes the point that great nonprofits include disciplined people, disciplined thought and disciplined action. In this context he is using the definition of discipline being a prescribed pattern of behavior.Collins shares that the nonprofit sector would greatly benefit from more disciplined planning, more disciplined people, more disciplined governance, and more disciplined allocation of resources.

    In my personal experience, I have observed well-disciplined nonprofits revisit thorny issues less frequently (time and energy saver), they have better relationships with their supporters (through the discipline of consistent contact), and they retain their board, staff, and volunteer human resources for longer periods of time (roles and responsibilities are clearer and understood by all). Organizations that adhere to a disciplined approach to their work aren’t rigid and emotionless, but rather they are consistent and relational because they know and practice those efforts that lead to mission obtainment.

    Take heart, discipline can be learned. Once it becomes a habit, you have arrived.

    Practical ways to become more disciplined:

    • Leadership makes the decision and declares the intent to be held accountable
    • Increased documentation of all decisions reached
    • Awareness and dedication to adherence of best organizational practices
    • Clarification and documentation of roles and responsibilities of board, committees, and each staff person
    • Time spent projecting (and documenting) the need for resources
    • Increased awareness and adherence to meeting start and stop times
    • Organizational commitment to meeting all promised deadlines.
    • Time devoted to prioritizing tasks so as to address those most important for organizational successes

    Initially, becoming more disciplined takes additional time. However, upon becoming disciplined, your efficiencies will provide you more available time than you currently enjoy.

    Want to discuss this further with Tom?

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  • Friday, August 18, 2017 10:05 AM | Sharon Castle (Administrator)

    Sharon Castle

    Capacity Builder


    “I don’t have time to meet with donors about their estate plans. I’m a small shop and I wear many hats.” 

    “I would love to have a planned giving program, but it’s almost the end of our fiscal year and I’ve got to raise 30% of my goal if I’m going to make budget. Plus, our annual gala is next month and I’m swamped.” 

    Sound familiar?

    If your organization does not market planned gifts as a giving option you are missing an opportunity to help build its capacity and long term sustainability. Consider a 2016 Gallup poll that reports only 44% of Americans say they have a will instructing how they would like their estate and money distributed upon their death. Interestingly, that is lower than two earlier Gallop polls conducted in 1990 (48%) and 2005 (51%.)1

    So what does this mean for you as the person charged with development? Well, 55% of Americans do not have a will designating where their assets will go once they die and some of them are likely in your donor pool. With little time and resources, how do you get them to realize that a will is important and your organization is an excellent option for leaving some of their hard earned assets? 

    It’s not as hard as you think.

    First, think simple. The mystique around planned giving can be off-putting, however, according to an article from Nolo by Ilona Bray, J.D., “…the vast majority of legacy gifts to nonprofits are not made through fancy annuities and other financial arrangements requiring the nonprofit’s management, but the old fashioned way, through wills and other simple probate-avoidance devices…”2

    Here are 6 strategies that inspire planned giving:

    1. Place simple, direct verbiage  on all of your written materials, website and even use it as a tag line after your signature. For example: “Please consider leaving __________in your will or estate plans.”

    2. Create a collateral piece highlighting your organization, its mission, and ways to giveincluding leaving it in a will or bequest.

    3. Develop a list of local estate planning attorneys and email them the collateral piece annually.

    4. Find out who the top estate planning attorneys are in your area and make it a point to invite the top 3 or 5 to lunch (one at a time) to introduce yourself and your organization. Everyone has got to eat, right? Remember, you can do this over the course of a year.

    5. Get to know your donor base. Someone who has given small and consistent amounts over many years may be a great candidate for a planned gift.

    6. If you have 50 or more donors who give small, consistent amounts, add their gifts up and consider hosting an inexpensive luncheon to thank them for their support over the years. This gives you a great opportunity to showcase your programs and let them know how their gifts have made a difference. During my American Lung Association of Michigan days, I actually had a donor call me the day after she attended one of these luncheons and tell me she wanted to leave us in her will!

    Remember, planned gifts are not immediate so don’t fret if you don’t see immediate results. By investing a few hours a year, you are planting the seeds for future gifts.

    If you need coaching to help you build and implement a plan, reach out to me at sharon@nonprofnetwork.org or call our office at 517-796-4750 to have a conversation.

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  • Tuesday, July 25, 2017 11:04 AM | Katena Cain (Administrator)

    Katena Cain

    Management Consultant


    Talking is something we often do without thinkinglike breathing. We talk to our friends, kids, coworkers, spouses, clients and customers without thinking much about it. Although it may seem easy, true communication takes quite a bit of skill: Choosing our tone, controlling our body language, and paying attention to how we listen. The ability to clearly get our message across requires intention and practice.

    Additionally, each of us have a unique way of communicating, often based on our family experiences, culture, gender and many other factors. While there is no right or wrong natural style of communicating, our past experiences build expectations that we don't verbally communicate with others, and others fail to meet our expectationsor we fail to meet theirsthe result can be tension and misunderstanding. For example, if we come from a large family that tends to shout in order to be heard, we may think that speaking loudly is normal. But if our coworkers come from a smaller, quieter family environment, they may be uncomfortable or even frightened by a raised voice. These differences in communication styles can lead to communication roadblocks—in an organization, communication roadblocks lead to conflict. 

    In order to resolve conflicts, we need to communicate about the issue; but negative patterns of communication can often lead to greater frustration and escalation of conflict.  Remember, different communications styles are not not necessarily bad, but tension can breed bad behavior. Strong communication skills can help you and your team overcome conflict that results from these roadblocks.

    Here's one step you can take to begin overcoming communication roadblocks and conflict in communication: a soft startup to the conversation. 

    Start with something positive, express appreciation, focus on problems one-at-a-time, and take responsibility for your thoughts and feelings. Discussing our backgrounds and perceptions can also help to clarify expectations of ourselves and others and can also help our coworker understand our point of view.  Knowing this information about one another is a critical piece of the problem solving process.

    I invite you to join me on August 18th to learn about the rest of this process.  At Employee Communications: Creating a Positive Workplace Culture, we'll take a deep dive into how strong communication skills can transform your workplace. It's the perfect opportunity for multiple team members to attend together and maximize impact.  Here's a preview of what participants will learn:

    • Your own style of handling conflict and how those with other styles handle conflicts
    • Communicating and working effectively across multi-generational lines
    • The key principles of effective communication
    • Using communication skills to address conflict
    • The resources available to assist in resolving conflict 
    • The importance of perceptions 
    •  Applying good listening skills in order to communicate with diplomacy, tact and credibility
    • The impact stress has on communication
    Register today for Employee Communications 101: Nurturing a Positive Workplace Culture. The content is relevant and powerful, and the day will be fast-paced, engaging, and fun.

    If you have any questions about this session, or if you'd like me to to bring it straight to your organization, let's have a conversation about how I can help you build your capacity.  

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  • Thursday, July 13, 2017 10:21 AM | Sharon Castle (Administrator)

    We are so excited to present you with the newest member of Nonprofit Network's staffSharon Castle!  With a wealth of fundraising experience as a development director, executive director, and consultant, Sharon has a unique perspective to offer nonprofits seeking to build their capacity. We'll let Sharon introduce herself. 

    Sharon Castle

    Capacity Builder


    As the newest staff member of Nonprofit Network, I am delighted to be writing my first blog post (and first blog postperiod) as a Capacity Building Consultant. I welcome the opportunity to share my background, experience and philosophy in working with and helping build the capacity of Nonprofit Network’s members.

    First, a bit of background. I credit my in-depth fundraising knowledge to my work as Deputy Director of Development for the American Lung Association of Michigan (ALAM) where I oversaw the fundraising activities of 5 staff members and was responsible for all aspects of statewide fundraising including, special events, telemarketing, direct mail, major gifts and planned giving.

    While I loved my work and colleagues at ALAM, I was fascinated by major gift fundraising and left to become Executive Director of Development for the Michigan Historical Center Foundation where I completed the fundraising for the Michigan Historical Museum’s 20th Century permanent galleries and planned and executed the grand opening gala.

    During my tenure at ALAM, I was able to assist several organizations (with my ED’s blessing) in a consulting capacity. So, in 1995, when I discovered I was pregnant with my second child, I decided to try consulting full-time. Now, as an empty nester ( that second child is now 22) I still love consulting but want to be connected to an organization. Fate intervened and I met Regina when she presented at the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Capital Area Chapter’s annual conference. Fun fact: Regina’s session received the highest level of feedback!

    I introduced myself and asked if we could set up a time to meet as my husband and I are looking at relocating to Chelsea to be closer to family and I was looking to make connections in “that part of the state.” We met for coffee a few weeks later and I learned about Regina’s vision for Nonprofit Network, its services, including the outstanding Bridges Out of Poverty framework, and her quest to hire a Capacity Building Consultant. A couple of weeks later I had the opportunity to interview for the position and meet Carrie, Jessica, Katena, and Tom and, as they say, the rest is history and here I am writing my first blog post!

    Nonprofit Network is a perfect fit: the ability to consult while having a team of fellow consultants and outstanding support. The organization’s mission to strengthen nonprofit governance and management is spot-on. As a consultant, I worked with numerous nonprofits that simply didn’t have the basic building blocks to attain their goals. Nonprofit Network’s respectful approach to each organization fits with my philosophy of not taking a cookie cutter approach and instead looking at each organization’s unique strengths and challenges and dovetailing them with sound fundraising principles and practices


    I am excited and honored to be part of this outstanding team and looking forward to working with our members!

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  • Thursday, June 29, 2017 10:31 AM | Deleted user

    Carrie Heider Grant

    Program Coordinator


    I have a confession to make: I cannot focus in a silent office.  I just can't do it.  I always have music or the radio playing (hopefully quietly) at my desk.  But these days, I am turning more and more to podcasts when I want something more substantial than background noise. And there is no shortage of nonprofit-relevant podcasts.

    What is a podcast, you might be asking? Podcasts are FREE programs that you can access through the internet or through apps on your phone. There are over 250,000 unique podcasts on iTunes aloneso trust me when I say that there is a podcast out there on virtually every topic. You can even download them to your phone to listen later when you're on the move and don't want to use your data to stream the content.

    Now, if you squirm at the idea of having someone talk in your ear while you sit at your desk, or if you are most productive in a space that is quiet, then consider instead turning on a podcast while you're cleaning, driving the car, exercising, mowing the lawn, or sitting quietly with a cup of coffee. 

    Today I am sharing 6 nonprofit-related podcasts that you need to know. They have each inspired me in different way, transforming not only the way I view my work, but how I view the worldthe very ecosystem in which nonprofits operate. 

    1) Nonprofit Optimist (hosted by Molly MacCready)

    This newer podcast "showcases positive change agents and talks through lessons that their small nonprofits have learned." Molly MacCready, a professional who founded her own nonprofit organization 10 years ago, emphasizes the good in the world and uses this podcast to elevate the stories of small, but awesome, nonprofits. I am interested to see where she goes with this over time. 

    2) Nonprofits are Messy: Lessons in Leadership (hosted by Joan Garry)

    "Hosted by Joan Garry, the "Dear Abby" of the nonprofit world, this podcast is a discussion of the most pressing issues faced by nonprofit leadership. It features real stories of nonprofit leaders like you and how they handled the mess." These episodes are longer (over 60 minutes long), so I find it's easier to listen to this podcast when I am in the car as opposed to when I am in the office where there are more interruptions. 

    3) Social Good Instigators (hosted by Kirsten Bullock)

    Formerly known as the Nonprofit Leaders Network Podcast, "this show aims to encourage and inspire leaders of social good organizations. You'll learn from other leaders who reflect not only on the ways they helped their organizations excel, but also the things that didn't work out so well."

    4) The Science of Social Media (from Buffer)

    This is a great resource for anyone who wants to broaden their social media marketing skills. It's a light-hearted series and (BONUS!)they are shorter episodes at 30 minutes or less, so it's easy to digest and apply the ideas to my work. Not every episode is relevant to my role with a small organization, but the majority is very useful. Disclaimer: this is a podcast from the social media management platform, Buffer, so there are lots of plugs and references to their product. But I don't find it distracting and still recommend it.

    5) Hidden Brain (hosted by Shankar Vedantam, from NPR)

    This is one of my favorite programs on any media platform, period. It's a blend of science and storytelling that "reveals the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior." And it's not just entertaining. The insights offered by Shankar have the capacity to impact your work life and your home life. I strongly encourage you to listen to the four episodes that aired from May 29 to June 19: Broken Windows, In the Air We Breathe, Rap on Trial, and "Is he Muslim?" They each take a deep dive into how implicit bias impacts society in Americaat the individual level, the community level, and the institutional level. The implications of the discoveries in these episodes are impacting YOUR mission and your success in achieving that mission. Do not miss these four episodes!

    6) Revisionist History (hosted by Malcolm Gladwell)

    Season 2 of this podcast dropped on June 15, and I am hooked. Malcolm Gladwell (Author of The Tipping Point) is a best-selling author and journalist who calls this series his attempt to "correct the record." Every episode "re-examines something from the pastan event, a person, an idea, even a songand asks whether we got it right the first time." This podcast has a similar impact on my world perspective as Hidden Brain.  

    Bonus Podcast: LeVar Burton Reads (hosted by LeVar Burton)

    "LeVar Burton (Reading Rainbow, Star Trek, Roots) hand-picks a different piece of short fiction in each episode, and reads it to you." Okay, so I know that this isn't relevant to nonprofit work, but I mean, COME ON.  I am so excited to dig into this series and couldn't help but add to to this list. This is one of the best things happening on the internet right now and has already jumped to the #2 spot in the iTunes podcast app. Disclaimer: This show is tagged as explicit, which means some of the content is probably not appropriate for children. Since the show just launched on June 13, it's too soon to tell just how colorful the language and topics in each story will be. So give it a shot, but know that some episodes may have more swears or adult-only content than others.

    So what do you think? Which podcasts inspire you?  There are so many unique and outstanding shows out there.  What are you waiting for?  Hop on over to your iTunes, GooglePlay, or wherever you get your podcasts, and start exploring.  You won't regret it.

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  • Thursday, June 22, 2017 1:55 PM | Jessica Chipman (Administrator)

    Jessica Chipman

    Office Manager


    Do you wish there were more hours in a day? Busy schedules tend to make us wish for more time. Being stretched for time can cause stress and anxiety. Though we can’t add additional time to a day, we can modify our schedule to help eliminate stress. Below are some tips to make the most out of your time:

    10 Tips to Master Time Management

    1)    Plan your day.

    Take a half hour each night to plan the next day. Jotting what you need to do on paper will help you to visually plan out your day. It will help you to set realistic expectations of what you may be able to achieve.

    2)    Learn how to say no.

    Many of us overbook ourselves which causes more stress in our lives. If you don’t have the time to do something, don’t do it. Prioritize what is important in your life and say no to things you can live without.

    3)    Turn off your phone.

    If you’re in a meeting or working on something important, turn your phone off or put it out of sight. Having your phone by your side at all times may distract you and waste your time.

    4)    Ask for help.

    If you have a lot on your plate reach out to someone. They might be able to lend a helping hand.

    5)    Account for interruptions.

    Interruptions are bound to happen. Something may come up spur of the moment. When planning your day, remember not book every minute of your day so that you can address potential disruptions.

    6)    Complete important tasks first.

    Write down the top three important tasks you need to accomplish. Prioritize those tasks by carrying them out first. If you wait until later in the day, the tasks may not get done.

    7)    Follow through.

    If you scheduled a meeting or an appointment make sure you go to it. If you cancel a meeting at the last minute, it may end up being rescheduled. Continually rescheduling meetings wastes more time and energy as you search for alternate dates and meeting locations.

    8)    Under promise, over deliver.

    Though some people may not like this phrase, to me it emphasizes an important concept – setting expectations at a reasonable level. Be reasonable when making promises. Don’t set other people’s expectations too high causing disappointment. If you repeatedly over promise and under deliver – trust issues may occur.

    9)    Exercise, eat right, and sleep.

    It’s important to take care of yourself. When you are your best self, you’ll have more energy to tackle the day.

    10)  Commit to less.

    Don’t put too much on your plate. Slow down and try to eliminate activities that you don’t like or are not obligated to do. Make more time for yourself.

    We all have 24 hours in day. By using these tips, hopefully you’ll eliminate stress and get the most out of your time. Alan Lakein, a time management author, emphasizes “Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste your life, or master your time and master your life.” Take the time to set boundaries and master your life.

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