Volunteering is one of the best ways to give back to your community. Giving back to your community is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, with local businesses and citizens needing extra help these days. However, fitting volunteer work into an already busy schedule can be a challenge.

If you’re hoping to make more time for volunteer work, we applaud you. This article will help you open up the time you need to be a hero for your community. Check out these 9 time management tips to get started: 

1. Plan to Volunteer in Advance

Last-minute volunteer work is hard to fit into your schedule. Setbacks can come from anywhere, or you may simply lose motivation in the moment. If you plan to volunteer in advance, you’re already committed. When it shows up in your online calendar, you’re set to go.

Adding volunteer work into your online calendar will also prevent you from planning other activities that take away available free time. If anything ever comes up, your online calendar will already be full for the time you plan to volunteer.

2. Set a Volunteering Goal

Setting goals encourages you to dedicate time toward achieving them. Setting a goal specifically for volunteering will push you to make time for it. Without a set goal, it’ll be more difficult to accrue volunteering hours.

Use your online calendar to lay out steps for your goal. Whether it’s an hourly amount of service you want to do each month or a project you want to complete, this time management tool can help you accomplish your goal.

3. Find Ways to Volunteer from Home

Finding a large block of time to volunteer is a challenge when balancing work and family life. It’s often easier to find small windows of opportunity than to sacrifice an entire evening. Looking for ways to volunteer from home is the ideal solution.

There are ways you can volunteer online, such as through video instruction or organizing efforts in other locations. Find something that suits you, and insert smaller time segments into your online calendar to volunteer throughout the week. 

4. Cut Down on Wasted Time

Identifying key time-wasting activities opens up your schedule for more volunteer work. This also allows you to make extra room without redoing your entire schedule. All you have to do is drop a few bad habits and replace them with volunteer time.

Screen time is the biggest offender of improper time management. You can use your online calendar to cut down on screen time, which can then be allotted toward volunteer work. Limiting electronic use can also help you finish projects more quickly and tend to higher priority responsibilities, further opening up your day.

5. Incorporate Volunteering Into Your Regular Work

Volunteering has long been a great way for businesses to build up their reputations. Giving back to the community fosters mutual respect, ultimately helping both parties to improve. If you have a hard time freeing up personal time for volunteer work, look for ways to incorporate it into your job. 

Come up with a volunteer plan to pitch to your company. No matter how big or small, this project will do good in the local community’s eyes. Volunteer work also feels good and will be a gratifying workday for everyone participating. 

6. Look for Passive Ways to Volunteer

Not all volunteer work has to go directly from person to person. There are other less time-consuming ways to provide service to those in need. These are much easier to fit into your online calendar.

An excellent example of passive volunteering is donating old clothing and toys. You don’t know exactly who they’re going to, but the action will help someone in need. Boxing up a few belongings and talking to a local charity takes much less time than more inclusive projects. 

7. Look for One-Time-Only Events

When many people think of volunteer work, they imagine a regular role that needs to be filled every week. There are plenty of these, but the commitment can be too much for someone with a full-time job and a family at home. Instead, look for isolated events where you can volunteer your services.

With an individual event, you only need to commit to a single day and time. It’s easier to move your schedule around for this one activity instead of rearranging your entire week for a more regular commitment. Start small, and build up if you feel the desire to do more. 

8. Limit Splurging Activities

Everyone deserves some “me-time.” However, if you really want to make time for volunteering, you’ll have to sacrifice some of that personal time. Cutting down on personal activities such as going to the movies or your favorite restaurant provides an evening to go out and serve.

Don’t go too crazy, eliminating your favorite activities. Your priority should be your mental health and the happiness of you and your family. Just remember that to volunteer effectively, you’ll have to look outside of yourself every once in a while.

You could always add volunteer work to your favorite activities whenever possible. For example, picking up trash while on a hike is a good way to get exercise and give back. 

9. Volunteer With Friends

If you have the time but can’t commit, start volunteering with a group of friends. They can hold you accountable on the days you’re on the fence and can make volunteer work more enjoyable.

You can share your online calendar to plan volunteer opportunities together. This makes it easier to coordinate schedules that work for everyone. 

Following these tips will give you plenty of time for volunteer work. Members of your community will be grateful for your service, and you’ll feel good every step of the way.