I am so excited to bring you a new submission for our Day in the Life of a Nonprofit Communicator series! This series lets you describe your workday in your own words. Want to be be featured? Keep reading to learn how you can submit your day.
Kim Scaravelli is an award-winning marketer, content consultant, and author of Making Words Work. As CEO of Trust Communications, she spends her weekdays helping nonprofit organizations accomplish BIG things by harnessing the power of words. The rest of the time, she wrangles a large, unruly family, intervenes in spats between her cat and her dog, and binge-watches baking shows. No shame. You can’t be productive ALL the time.
She works at home and this is her typical day:
Before 8:00 am: I’m a morning person. I naturally wake up between 630am and 7:00am and I wake up filled with energy and optimism. (My husband tells me this is my most annoying personal trait). I have the coffee pot preset so the kitchen already smells like morning. I let my dog, Stevie, out for a pee. Feed my cat, Winnie. And pour that first glorious cup of caffeine! Most days, I grab a quick shower and put on “decent” workday clothes, but I’m not going to lie to you. 😂Sometimes, it’s just a pair of sweatpants paired with a sweater that will pass muster on Zoom calls.
Once I’m presentable to the universe, I pour a second coffee and putter from my kitchen to my office… I should note that my work environment is somewhat unique. I have been a nonprofit consultant, content strategist, and content creator for 20+ years, and I have always been able to work from home. Many years ago, when I had 3 children screaming in my house, I escaped by converting a small building in our backyard into a corporate workspace. It was the best decision I ever made.
My office is about 10 ft x 12 ft. It has a lovely attached deck with two Adirondack chairs, where I can sit on sunny summer days. Inside, there’s a cozy electric fireplace for snowy mornings. And a heat pump that keeps me warm all winter and cool all summer. EVERY item in that space is comfortable and brings me joy.
Colleagues and employees of mine have always worked remotely, so covid had no real impact on the daily set up of my workday. I realize how lucky I am to have this space and I cherish it.
8:00 am to 10:00 am: I start my day checking social media feeds and interacting with folks. Then I pre-schedule posts for the day (I use Buffer for that) and check my email.
This takes me to about 9:00am. From 9:00 to 10:00am is designated content writing time. No more checking social or email! I set a timer and get ‘er done.
10:00 am to 12:00 pm: I wear a number of hats during my workday: I am the owner and Chief Content Strategist at Trust Communications and Managing Partner of the Canadian Diversity Initiative. I am also an author with marketing and promotional responsibilities related to my book, Making Words Work (and a new book in the development stage). Calendly is my favourite organizational tool!
I have a “Book a Meeting” option built into my email signatures. This allows clients, prospects, and colleagues to choose meeting times that are convenient for them but also align with my daily schedule. I integrate my personal and business calendars via Calendar on my Mac and my iPhone so there are never overlaps or conflicts. And so I get a reminder of each commitment an hour in advance. A solid calendar app can be your best friend!
My offices are on the East Coast (Halifax, Nova Scotia) but I work with nonprofits across Canada, the U.S., and Europe. So, my schedule needs to accommodate those who may have started work 4 hours before me AND those whose workdays started 4 hours after mine. On most workdays, my Calendar allows meetings to be scheduled 10:00am – 11:30am and again from 2:00 – 3:30. This provides options for multiple time zones but also limits the time I spend in meetings.
12:00pm – 2:00 pm: I ALWAYS stop work at noon for a complete hour. I have a healthy lunch and take my dog for a walk. This is important time because it lets me ponder whatever happened in the morning, let go of any stress that may have accumulated, and re-center myself for a productive afternoon. In the same way that I schedule an uninterrupted hour of content creation time in the morning, I put that one hour timer on again at 1:00pm.
My clients are paying for creativity and innovative thinking and that requires concentration. So I consider those two hours the most important hours of my workday. What I do with the rest of my day can be a bit flexible – but I fiercely protect those two hours.
2:00pm – 4:00 pm: Because I have many clients in later time zones, afternoons are commonly meeting times. That said, I try to be done with conversations and project work by 4:00pm.
After 4:00 pm: I have a ritual for the last half hour of my workday:
1. I make notes on client meetings and if there are deliverables, I make sure the deadlines and follow-up activities are on my calendar.
2. I identify at least one thing that I’m proud of about how my day went. I write that on a post it and put it on my keyboard before I leave work. That way, I start the next day with a reminder that I’m doing good work and accomplishing things!
3. I create a to-do list for the next day. My to-do lists always include at least one thing I can complete successfully (because small daily wins are important!). And there are never more than 5 actions on that list. 3 is even better. (because a to-do list that’s unrealistic is depressing – and counterproductive).
4. I go to my social media accounts and interact with followers (because success on social isn’t just about posting – it’s about relationship-building).
Then I turn off the lights and leave. No working in the evenings. Again… clients are paying me to be mentally ON and that’s not something I can accomplish without downtime and rest!
Thanks for sharing your day, Kim!
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