March 9, 2021
Brenda Baker, NACA Director of Finance & Operations
By definition, a habit is usually involuntary; a tendency or pattern of behavior that has developed over time that is hard to give up. Conversely, a new habit is hard to start, but is usually easier to adopt if it replaces an old habit being given up.
As we crossed the threshold from 2020 to 2021, many of us took the opportunity to make New Year’s resolutions. The start of a new year seems the time we commit to positive changes in our lives. As a person who struggles with starting good habits and breaking bad ones, I always engage in the exercise of stating new goals for a new year. I have admittedly achieved little success in keeping most of them over my lifetime. But it is possible to change habits by making small incremental modifications in our routines.
One such goal I would challenge NACA members to set for the new year is to make it a habit to take full advantage of all the member benefits that NACA offers. Maybe you feel you already are to the extent possible, but are there things you may be missing because of the habits you have developed over time?
If you are like me, you probably have a certain way of prioritizing your email inbox to manage the most urgent emails first and relegate those that are less urgent to a later time. Sometimes those that are not initially at the top of the priority list get further and further down the list until the inbox is so full of emails that some that are informational and do not need a response get deleted or moved to a folder for later reading. Eventually some of these become obsolete and are purged. Because of the day-to-day demands of the job, it is not always possible to devote attention to all the information we receive.
Aside from the primary duties of our jobs and directions from our superiors, how do we determine what to filter out and what deserves our attention? One thing I try to do is read enough of each email to determine if there is potential for helping me to be more efficient, grow personally or professionally, or perform my job with greater effectiveness. And that is what every communication NACA members receive from the association is meant to do for them.
NACA provides a menu of benefits and services designed to make the work of campus activities professionals easier and more effective. NACA publishes a variety of publications and communication pieces to promote the various educational and professional development resources for campus activities professionals and students.
Campus Activities Programming® is published quarterly and contains a rich source of “how to” information. The bi-weekly issue of Spotlight provides information on upcoming webinars, Coffee and Conversations and opportunities to connect and learn from peers and seasoned professionals. Associate News provides information and resources to associate members on how to best to navigate NACA and connect with school members. Along with promotional communication for specific events and opportunities, these are but a few of the things you will see appear in your inbox on a routine basis. It may seem expedient in the moment to pass them by or relegate them to a “read later” folder; but making it a habit to give attention to these communications from NACA will help you get the most out of your association membership.
As we navigate a pandemic and changes in the way we are all approaching our work, especially on campuses, there is no better time to make it a habit to take full advantage of the resources NACA has to offer its members. More opportunities for education and growth will be coming soon to your inbox.
Brenda Baker is the director of finance and operations at the National Association for Campus Activities. Baker has dedicated her 40-year career to managing associations' financial resources and services.