SEA Affiliate Week: Staying Sane While Growing Your Evaluation Business by Megan Hartman

Megan Hartman
Megan Hartman

Hi, my name is Megan Hartman and I am the Associate Director at Behavioral Science Research Institute in Miami, Florida. We provide research, consultation, and evaluation services to dozens of community health centers, hospitals, non-profits, and other organizations throughout South Florida and internationally. As the Associate Director, I help run many branches of the company, including evaluation, logistical and operations oversight, business development, and beyond (non-profit life, am I right?). I’ve learned that staying organized is an invaluable way to stay sane while growing a business.

Hot Tips:

  • Short-term: Stressed out? Too many tasks and not enough time? Take a step back and write out a timeline for the next month (or three). When are your major deliverables due? Any scheduled meetings? Get it all down on paper so you know which weeks are busier than others. Refer to this timeline week by week to plan ahead and back into deadlines.
  • Intermediate: With company growth comes new hires. Project management is more complex with a team dynamic. Invest time and energy in honing employee skills and giving them the space to contribute meaningfully – both by completing tasks and generating new ideas.
  • Long-term: Strategic planning will help you reach your overarching goals and readjust when needed. It’s like an evaluation for your company. Read more about the benefits of strategic planning here.

Rad Resources:

  • Panda Planner helps me stay ultra-organized and find a work-life balance. Win-win!
  • Wrike is an internet-based project management tool that’s great for individuals or teams. It has a handy feature for replicating repetitive tasks, like planning for all your reoccurring monthly meetings.

Lessons Learned:

  • Self-care is necessary unless you want to feel burnt-out. Take time for yourself during your day: pause, take a few deep breaths, and re-center yourself. Go for a walk after lunch to digest and give your eyes a rest; set boundaries for your work schedule – perhaps no nights or weekends; and be sure to get a full night’s rest. Taking these small steps will add up to a more engaged, calm, and collected you!
  • Company culture contributes to productivity and staying on task. Be aware of the office atmosphere – is everyone overly-stressed or happily productive? Are they keeping to themselves or tight-knit? Group cohesion can make or break a growing organization.
  • Flooded with work and/or deciding which projects to take on? When in doubt, go back to basics with the AEA guiding principles to help decide which projects align.
hands on a laptop keyboard with cell phone and literature nearby
Photo source: Behavioral Science Research Institute.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Southeast Evaluation Association (SEA) Affiliate Week with our colleagues in the SEA Affiliate. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from SEA Affiliate members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.


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