The last couple of days has seen me hunkered down with the Board of a community organization working on their end-of-year appeal campaign, what’s been different about this planning period is that we’ve been disconnected from the outside world.

I got called in at the 11th hour to assist as the Board had been running round in circles trying to get the planning done, but were constantly getting interrupted, or more accurately were allowing themselves to become distracted.

Sometimes it pays to disconnect, to turn off the mobile phone, shut the internet down and focus on the task at hand.

On day one of the planning session I suggested we work away from the office, that staff were instructed not to interrupt us unless it was critical – one mobile phone was allocated for any such call.

All mobiles were put aside, the wireless internet shut down and out came to the whiteboard.

After only a few hours we had the core of the campaign sorted, we had established the “Wish List” – what was needed, why it was needed, from this we worked on who we could approach immediately to help tick items off the “Wish List”. Soon, a shortlist of potential donors, new and current, was drawn up along with a task list – who would do what, who would be responsible for keeping the ball rolling.

Day Two and we had all email promotion content sorted, a series of media releases were prepared and content update to the organizations website was ‘signed off’.

All this took about 20 hours, whereas prior to the planning days more than 60 hours had been spent on the planning for the campaign, with little movement made on the path to take – interruptions were the main reasons cited for the lack of progress.

Not only were we able to complete the end-of-year campaign planning, but we also managed to start the planning for a supporter get together, something that hadn’t been held in more than 5 years.

Getting away from it all – disconnecting and getting stuck into to tasks with little or no interruptions really works; if you’re struggling to get traction – disconnect and get stuck in, you’ll be pleasantly surprised as to how much you can achieve.

Do you shut yourself away to get tasks done- if not what’s holding you back from doing it?

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