Keep in mind, I don't currently work outside of the home. When I was a full-time teacher, all I did, volunteer-wise, was to occasionally help with Sunday School at our church and lead a Writer's group. The Writer's group was really one of my favourite things to do and Sunday School was honestly the bare-minimum way to be involved in my children's education.
For this time in my life, here is my attempt at a priority list of where to spend my volunteer time while still providing enough time to go for walks, meet with friends, read, and write:
1. Do something you love. Make sure you have at least one way to volunteer that doesn't feel like work or volunteering. You should always have something to look forward to. For me right now, it is volunteering to read with some of the students in my son's class. Helping kids learn to read and write was my favourite thing about teaching. I've collected a good set of strategies over the years and I don't want to lose them. Meeting with kids one-on-one is the best. You have time to listen to their stories and still get work done. I always found it frustrating that, even with a small class, there wasn't nearly enough time to listen to all the things kids wanted to tell me.
2. Be part of a committee. I have spent a lot of my time doing solitary things. Writing is largely solitary, playing the piano was solitary, figure skating had some opportunities to work in a group, but was mainly a lone sport, in my experience. Even teaching has a large element of independent work; although, fortunately, I learned early-on the importance of leaning on colleagues for ideas and support. Being part of a committee has it's frustrations and even drama, but working through problems and brainstorming new ideas can be very rewarding and good for the brain. I am the secretary for our school's P.A.C. Sort of a sweet spot for a writer!
3. Do something challenging. (AKA Do something you don't entirely like). I'm not absolutely convinced of this one and I certainly don't want to advertise that I don't enjoy any of the volunteer work I do. However, I think there is something to be gained in sacrifice. Even the volunteer areas you do enjoy likely have some aspect that is annoying or yucky. Hopefully this will stretch you in a way that you can actually see the good in what you're doing. This does not mean doing something you don't agree with. There must be merit in what you have volunteered for. Perhaps you can help to work out the kinks to make the job a better one. If nothing else, it may inspire some interesting writing!
That's all. I only wanted three things. I think I'm now ready to read someone else's list. How do you prioritize where you spend your time? Also, do you disagree with any part of my list? Thanks!