Helping Lots of People

While running the Tutoring for Children club at my high school, I learned how to get organized the hard way.

I had a lot of fun teaching kids from local elementary and middle schools and wanted to create similar experiences for my classmates. However, I soon realized that administering the club was not easy. At the beginning, I made several communication mistakes while trying to keep track of emails from parents and to find students who could teach the necessary subjects at the right times. On a couple of occasions, tutors did not show up to scheduled appointments, angering parents and disappointing their tutees. In the short term, I met with angry parents to apologize, and tried to be more careful to match students who could show up to their meetings on time.

In the long term, however, there was too much to keep track of without a better system. Inspired by David Allen's Getting Things Done, I organized my email inbox with Action, Waiting On, and Someday folders and created email templates so I could quickly follow up parents. I made a Google Spreadsheet template that kept track of all student-child matches in a user friendly way and helped me delegate tasks to other club heads. In two years we increased the size of the club from 15 to over 50 tutor-child pairs, and received many happy emails from parents whose children benefited substantially from meetings with their tutor buddies.

Organization, and a bit of automation, helped me help a lot more people.

A Happy Email Spreadsheet Canned Another Happy Email