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July 12, 2023

Charting Volunteer Time

Charting the time you spend volunteering may inform new decisions for the year ahead.

The first people I described this idea to expressed concern that I might come across as boastful. I’ve decided to share it with you anyway, at the risk of affirming their apprehension.

I looked up how to make a Quadrant Matrix Chart in Excel and created one to measure my volunteer time. You can construct your own to plot data in a way that might help you navigate your choices for volunteering in 2023. That’s how I intend to use my chart.

As the New Year has been approaching, I’ve been putting a lot of thought into the amount of time I dedicate to volunteerism, and whether the volunteer activities I choose are more oriented to my career, or more personal in nature. Volunteering has been a rewarding part of my life for as long as I can remember. I value the benefits to my community and to my own well-being and professional advancement.

There’s also a balance I need to establish, however, to ensure I’m not over-committing my time, and that I’m also focused on initiatives that are the most meaningful and beneficial, to myself and the world around me.

I wasn’t entirely surprised that most of my volunteer time is spent on things that have professional relevance to me. But, having a visual of the data in this kind of chart for the first time has made me wonder if a shift to dedicating more time to activities that have less, or zero professional relevance might be a good change for my soul.

There’s no doubt that my career-aligned volunteering is important to me and meaningful on a personal level. I’m curious, though, if having professional stakes involved with the majority of my unpaid time is either diminishing my intrinsic satisfaction from volunteerism, or if it’s compromising my paid endeavours. This might not have resonated as something to consider acting upon without seeing 64% of the data markers in the two right quadrants.

I ranked the data appearing on the vertical and horizontal axes,(Professional Relevance and Time) on a scale of 1-10. The numbers need only make sense to you in terms of your best estimations of your time and professional relevance when you replace my data with your own.

I hope it helps guide you in any decisions you will be making to add to, or modify, the time you spend volunteering in the year ahead, as well as the kinds of activities to which you commit your time.

And, you know what? I don’t mind being a little braggy about doing this. Heck, it’s the first Quadrant Matrix Chart I’ve ever created, and I nailed it.

Here’s a link to the chart I created. You can name your activities and replace my data in each of the columns:


Here’s a link to the tutorial from Teaching Junction I used to create it:


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