Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Surviving the Big Deadline

Today is a grant deadline for us. As we were rushing around to get the proposal finalized so we can deliver it this afternoon, it occurred to me that we use some very definite strategies for dealing with "the last day," better known as "the deadline."

Here are my tips:

First, take one thing at a time. During the rest of the grant development and writing process, multi-tasking is OK, even essential. However, when you are coming down to the final stages (final proofreading, assembly, etc.), you really need to take one step at a time. Completely focus on the task at hand and don't stop until that task is completed. For example, if you are proofreading forms, do not give anything else your attention until the forms are complete. If you are double-checking the order of documents in the proposal against the RFP checklist, give that task your undivided attention. Jumping from task to task at this stage is the best way to make a critical error.

Second, don't panic. If you stick with one task at a time, it's easy to avoid panic, but panic sets in when a) you try to do too many things at once, and b) you get too close to the final deadline. That brings me to my next tip. . .

Know when to stop. Here's the deal - you can revise that document over, and over, and over again - forever. The nature of the writing craft includes the fact that it can always be improved. But you really need to know when to call it quits.

Remember that the deadline will come...and go. It helps me to deal with deadline stress to remember that tomorrow this deadline will be a thing of the past, no matter how many more changes I make. There will be an end to the stress.

Finally, remember that the goal is to get the proposal submitted on time. Keep your eye on the clock. You can have the world's best proposal that you have revised twenty times, but if you miss the deadline, it just won't matter.

You can get through this. I promise.

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About Creative Resources & Research

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Woodland, CA, United States
Creative Resources and Research is a consulting firm specializing in grant writing, grant seeking, program evaluation and professional development training. We have worked with hundreds of clients including public and private schools, school districts, universities, non-profit organizations, and social service agencies throughout California, securing over $155 million from federal, state and private foundation funding sources over the past decade. Our primary grant writers and program evaluators have over 50 years of combined experience in the education and social services fields. At CRR we prefer a personal approach to the clients we work with; by developing long term relationships, we are better suited to match client’s needs with available funding sources. We provide a variety of services to help assist you, including grant writing, evaluation consulting, professional development opportunities, and workshops.