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podcast: self-care and productivity: live at AFP Fundraising Day

At this year’s AFP Fundraising Day in Toronto, we spoke Theresa Cheng, Nayeon Kim, Michelle Yeung, Debra Thompson amongst many other delegates about their thoughts on self-care and productivity. In this live episode, learn some tried-and-true strategies and tips for taking care of yourself and boosting your productivity.

are you busy?

Being busy is something we often wear as a badge of honour - but how does this affect our wellbeing? Working in a small nonprofit organization means wearing many hats which can leave us feeling overwhelmed. Think about how many times someone asks how you are... only for you to respond with “I’m so busy!” When you take care of yourself which allows you to perform better in both your professional and personal life.


When you think of self-care, we often think of going to a massage or go for a walk. But self-care can also be about doing things that light our hearts up. Try doing something outside of your comfort zone or do something you love - whatever brings you joy!

Don’t wait for anyone! If you want to go somewhere or do something, Theresa urges you to go for it! Don’t worry about whether or not you have company - it is perfectly okay to watch that movie you’ve been dying to see, alone. You’ll be in the dark where other people won’t be paying attention to anything but the movie. Being comfortable with yourself is also a sign of confidence!

Everyone needs a break sometimes - be sure to book off time or take a day off from doing work. Nayeon recommends going out for brunch by yourself or with good company. Debra loves getting lost in a good book - this makes for a great little escape when needed! We love walking meetings to give yourself a bit of a break during the day. Not only can you get those meetings done, but you also give yourself time to breathe in fresh air, get some sunshine and possibly more motivation to finish all of your tasks.

Michelle strongly suggests taking care of both your physical and mental wellbeing. This means seeing a Naturopath (hers also acts as a counsellor that she can confide in!) She also sees a chiropractor, who is also a neuroscientist, to help train and reframe stress so that she can keep moving forward. If you don’t happen to have access to either one, try using an acupressure mat to release stress. This gives you 40 minutes to yourself in a meditative state.


Becoming (and staying) productive can be a struggle especially with the endless work we do everyday. Here are some tried-and-true strategies that work for us, but it really depends on the way you work! Productivity is deeply connected to self-care but very specific to getting work done.

Theresa says that writing things down in an agenda is very effective for her! No need to be fancy - an agenda from the local dollar store works! With each day, Michelle says that it helps to make a list and stick to it. You can also knock down the smaller tasks first or do it in order of urgency - whatever works for you and your schedule. Set bite-sized goals and celebrate your victory. This is an awesome way to build success into your day. If you prefer digital we suggest using project management tools such as Freedcamp, Airtable, Trello or Asana to keep yourself on track.

Are you using your phone to its full potential? Debra challenges you to get to know your phone and try the tools it can offer. You can also sync your personal calendar with your work calendar - something Nayeon does to avoid switching from various calendars and better manage time in a realistic way. You have a lot on your plate - don’t forget to close your inbox for an hour at a time. Give yourself time to get the work done and to breathe easy.

what works for you?

Do you have a great self-care tip or a great productivity hack? Have you tried any of these strategies? Join the conversation and let us know by sending a message on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook!

A special thank you goes to: Theresa Cheng, the development manager of annual giving at Loft Community Services, Nayeon Kim, senior philanthropy officer at Unity Way, Michelle Yeung, the managing director at the School of Dance Theatre and Debra Thompson, Communications and Community Outreach Manager at the Halton Industry Education Council. Thank you for stopping by our booth and sharing your thoughts with us!

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The Small Nonprofit is produced by Eloisa Jane Mariano