How to Balance Volunteering With a Full-Time Job


We’re all guilty of replying ‘I’m busy’ to anything that comes up outside of work or our existing life commitments. However, there is a small slice of opportunity to bring some satisfaction and joy to your life and the planet through volunteering. 

Australia’s famous Dr. Tim Sharp or Dr. Happy has shared that the “satisfaction with life is at least partially dependent on living a life with purpose and meaning. Volunteering provides both these things in spades.” 

Here, we will explore areas of volunteering linked to climate action that you can also undertake while managing a full-time job. 

Find a Cause You Connect With 

On any normal day as you are by yourself with no errands or urgency, what do you find yourself drawn to? Would you look up recipes, go outdoors, or maybe do some gardening?

Our hobbies do a great deal of talking when it comes to topics we are interested in. It is good to hear what these areas of life have to say, as they could point you in a general direction of where you could spend your time outside of your current responsibilities. 

If you currently participate in hobbies by yourself, consider reaching out to a larger community to do it together. You will find people with similar passion who can keep you accountable and excited to return to the activity. 

Food service volunteering
Image: Getty

In the case that you like cooking and looking up recipes, consider cooking with a few friends once a month. If it works out, then push the boundaries slightly by cooking with more people or consider volunteering at food kitchens. If you find you don’t enjoy it, redirect yourself to the part of the process you do enjoy. Maybe it’s just the choice of ingredients you find interesting? Then perhaps you could help with saving ugly vegetables at your nearest supermarket. 

Pondering how our hobbies operate in the real world is one clear way of addressing existing social needs. Connecting the dots between your interests and the needs of the world is one valuable way of volunteering your time and energy that brings you joy and serves a community. 

No Action Is Too Small 

If you love going to the beach, it is more valuable if you go to the beach at least once a week rather than going once a month for four hours. The impact of volunteering is the same. The benefits of volunteering are reaped when there is a regulated flow of time, patience, resources, and commitment. However, not all of these factors need to come from the same person. 

Contrary to what many people think, volunteering requires consistent effort versus one-off big efforts. The same applies to your interest projects. 

Beach cleanup
Image: Getty

It is important to outline the available time and energy you have to contribute to volunteering. If you have existing commitments that take up time, consider starting with one hour every week. 

Start Exactly Where You Are 

Often people feel thrown off by volunteering because it appears inaccessible or very challenging to fit into their current routine. However the truth is you can simply start where you are from your home.

It has never been easier to start where you are with the power of the internet and our ability to connect with people in our direct vicinity. This could mean your neighbourhood, your workplace, your child’s daycare centre, or a park near your home. All of these spaces would certainly have existing systems that you could contribute to. 

For example, if you enjoy taking a walk in the park every day, consider picking up the trash you see while there. There are many apps these days that assist with calculating and contributing to trash collection and waste management. 

When we dismantle ourselves from the idea that the world needs saving from big things, we empower small everyday actions that add up to living a mindful and meaningful life that in turn will impact the world in significant ways.

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Any representations, views, or opinions contained in this article are those of The Latch and do not reflect those of and are not endorsed by Suncorp Bank.