5 Ways to Balance Volunteering with Life
Hougang Secondary CCA-VIA leaders learning about teamwork in the HW-CCE Leadership Programme 2019, guided by volunteer facilitator Joel.
To be able to give is a powerful thing, and so volunteering is one of the most rewarding and meaningful pursuits in life. While its benefits are immense, the prospect of volunteering might seem most daunting to those who worry that they cannot cope with the extra responsibilities beyond studies, CCA, and personal life.
Finding a healthy balance between volunteering and everything else is to find the best of all worlds. That balance is important not only for your health and well-being, but also for you to help others in your best state.
Ask yourself these 5 questions to achieve that balance!
Q1: What do you love?
Know what gets you out of bed in the morning. If you’re new to volunteering and have no idea where to start, why not list down your interests? Can you merge what you love to do with some existing cause? Trust us, when you are passionate with what you do, it helps you maintain a positive and healthy outlook in life, especially during stressful or busy times.
But wait! There’s a caveat:
Not all opportunities are meant for you, just because you love the cause or has an activity that happens to be your cup of tea.
You have to identify the best opportunities that allow you to engage at a meaningful level with reasonable expectations. Before committing, please research to clearly understand the commitments required in time and effort, and the expectations involved in any volunteering programme. This will certainly be a good start in achieving a healthy balance between volunteering and life.
Q2: How’s your schedule looking?
Always keep track of your schedule and stay on top of things. The best solution to do this? Our old-time favourite: Setting a timetable!
Put that effort into crafting a timetable which syncs your school work, CCAs, volunteering work and personal time. Trust us, it’s worth the trouble. A timetable helps you be aware of how much time you can reasonably contribute as a volunteer, and identifies non-essential activities to cut (excessive gaming, anyone?).
Above all, a timetable helps you stay organised and be on top of things.
Blocking out time every bi-weekly Saturday morning to visit our pioneers. A small act, but a great impact.
Q3: Can you work in a team?
Here’s reality: No volunteer acts on his or her own.
Especially because this is a world of doing good, please understand that your volunteer work affects many stakeholders (i.e. beneficiaries, organisations).
Always be open with your team members and the staff about your commitments. Sometimes when you are unable to handle the workload or complete the assigned tasks by the deadline given, don’t be afraid to be open and raise your problems or concerns! After all, things wouldn’t look too good for you and the team if you keep everything to yourself and be too hard on yourself.
Instead, why not embrace healthy communication and teamwork?
Q4: Who’s got your back?
Your family! And friends!
Yes, another way to find balance is make sure your family at home is well aware of your volunteering commitments and ready to support you when needed. It will help you sort out your priorities. Sometimes all you need is a simple encouragement or some valuable company from your family members to keep you going.
As the saying goes, family is the life jacket in the stormy sea of life.
House cleaning for the elderly from President’s Challenge benefiting organisation.
Q5: Dedication or moderation?
All work and no play makes jack a dull boy. Oops.
If you think having enough rest and entertainment isn’t important, think again. We love dedicated volunteers, but be sure to incorporate appropriate amounts of entertainment and relaxation time in your daily lives. Recharge and reinvigorate to be better prepared for the challenges ahead. What more, it increases your productivity and efficiency, thus killing two birds with one stone.
If you’ve applying a healthy mind-set and action to the five questions above, then you’re up for a pretty good balance between volunteering and life. If it’s simple easier said than done, it simple never hurts to try and benefit from the tips shared by our experienced volunteers!