14 Aug Discipline
As a professional classical pianist living in New York City I learned a thing or two about discipline—getting up at 6 am to line up for practice rooms so that you can practice for 6 hours in a cubicle, perfecting your version of Schumann’s Piano Concerto is a true test of anyone’s discipline.
Hard work taught me that anything worth achieving in life is worth fighting for. Fundraising is a multi-tasking profession: despite our best efforts, we wind up chasing the new shiny object around the office, instead of applying discipline and structure to what we know will bring in revenue. Fundraising work plays the “long game.” There are no shortcuts, no easy money, and when projects are BIG, with long timelines, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and frustrated.
The key to successfully completing any important fundraising task is discipline.
What is discipline?
Discipline is the act of prioritizing your activities based on their importance of bringing in revenue. It’s the commitment to a building process and order into your activities so that you can rely on the outcomes. Discipline means YOU choose what you do with your time, rather than having it chosen for you.
What does discipline look like?
- Having a fundraising plan so you know what you’re going to accomplish during the year.
- Pre-planning your schedule for the week/month/quarter so that you know that you will accomplish key things.
- Blocking time in your calendar for your priorities (not what’s in your inbox!).
- Creating process documents to help you be more efficient with administrative or time consuming “busywork.”
- Logging off and staying off social media accounts when you’re working on your key tasks during your peak productivity hours.
- Working towards achieving your professional goals and completing important projects that further your organization’s mission.
Why you should care about discipline
Without discipline your activities are random. You cannot rely on random activities to bring in revenue. Not all development activities are created equal, and your focus should be on the tasks that bring in revenue. Watch my fundraiser’s guide to time management video for more on this subject.
Your Turn – ready, set, go!
Set a timer for 25 minutes. What ONE activity or project have you been avoiding this week that is really important to your fundraising shop? Put up your “do not disturb” sign on your door, turn off your email and phone, and commit to 25 minutes of uninterrupted time on that task. You’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish.
Working with discipline and purpose increases your time spent on tasks that matter most and generate revenue. Discipline also decreases feelings of being overwhelmed and frustrated because you are able to accomplish tasks rather than get completely paralyzed by the length of your to-do list.
Get started with discipline today and start seeing the results! My next blog post is all about being strategic. Liked this post? Sign up for my e-newsletter— scroll to the bottom of this page for the sign up form —to continue following along with my Fundraising Mindset Blog series.