Doing good in the world can be downright exhausting if you let it. But when you’re on top of your game and giving it all you’ve got in a productive way, you optimize the amount of awesome you’re putting out into the world.
Let’s make sure you’re getting the most out of your volunteer experience and avoiding the inevitable burnout that will happen if you don’t listen to the warning signs.
Set Goals and Reevaluate
First, determine what you want out of your volunteer experience. While “doing good in the world” is a great goal, that’s the same goal most people have. Be more specific! What do you hope to accomplish? What outcome would make you feel the best, and better the organization? Figure that out and consider writing it down somewhere.
Then, remember to reevaluate your goals after you’ve been volunteering for awhile. Sometimes it’s hard to gauge goals at the beginning of a venture, and reevaluating is always an important part of the process.
Speaking up isn’t always easy, especially if you’re a newcomer to an organization. But if something isn’t working for you, there’s no shame in letting the organization know. It’ll work out better for you and for the organization to make sure you’re in a role where you’re contributing the most.
Be upfront about the types of tasks you like and are good at from the get-go. If you’re doing something that you love and that you excel at, you’ll be more likely to avoid burnout from helping an organization that you love in a task that you don’t.
Know Your Limits
Sometimes, plain and simple, you need a break. As much as you might be against it, saying ‘no’ to a task is not the end of the world. You can always volunteer to help find somebody who can help take on the task if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Plus, if you’re feeling bogged down in a certain volunteer position, switch it up and do something else for awhile. Make sure to listen to what your mind and body are telling you about your limits.