Sunday

Organize For More Leisure

Who has not had their time and energy consumed by an organization or club? Let’s face it; many organizations are geared toward consuming every available hour that a person has to offer. Many organizations I encounter, from churches/religious groups, to charitable organizations, to volunteer groups, to clubs, most are kept running by a small number of persons who are extremely committed to the cause, and who work tirelessly to keep it going.

Observe most of the groups to which you belong and you discover a handful of people doing most of the work that keep the wheels turning. In the occasional sports club or leisure group I have been involved, it was one or no more than two people who kept the group corralled. If asked why members of the total group don't participate in the administration of the club, there unanimity: "I don't have time for the meetings."

What a delight it is to discover other models of doing business, to discover organizations that are designed for full involvement, but not consumption of its members.

This kind of organization is light on meetings and heavy on team delegation. Every once in awhile I come across this kind of group and there are keys to their effectiveness:

Lots of emphasis on team and small group responsibility- These groups put motivated people in charge of a task, give them support, and get out of the way. It makes for fewer meetings, and often more gets done. Small groups of three to four people tackling a specific task will almost always bring better results than a whole board or committee dealing with the issue.

Emphasize future programs and coming events vs. past happenings- Effective groups spend more time on planning the future, and less dissecting the past. There is always the need to evaluate, but the reason for evaluation is an improved future. Give me an organization focused on the future, and I will show you one that has great potential.

Do as much work by phone/email as possible- Many meetings can be pre-empted by the exchange of emails or phone call and coming to a group consensus without ever scheduling a time and place. Take advantage.

Set meeting end times and stick to them- It is amazing what can get done in a short amount of time when there is an expectation of an end time for a meeting.

Practice humor and joy as a part of meeting times- When you have to meet face to face, a meeting should be led with a sense of humor and with a light touch. People will come back to a joyful experience.

See if these hints might lead to more leisure in your life.

Mike Stanton-Rich is "The Leisure Guy." Armed with a Ph.D. in Leisure Studies and years studying stress and burnout, he writes regular articles and features about enhancing work and leisure. Catch his latest at: http://www.theleisureguy.com

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