Time Is Money: How to Improve Time Management Skills for Grant Writers
When you’re writing a grant, you’re a slave to the all important deadline. Time is of the essence. Don’t let poor time management skills sink a great proposal. Here are some tips for managing your time:
Develop a Timeline
List every task that needs to be completed by the time the proposal is submitted. Place each task on a timeline and create deadlines for each piece. Make sure everyone working on the proposal has access to the timeline, and can plan for their tasks. Try to place more tasks at the beginning of the timeline. You will have more drive and energy in the beginning, plus that leaves more time at the end to refine your proposal.
Get your draft budget done early on in the process. Having a budget makes it much easier to write the narrative. It’s harder to go back and rewrite the narrative after the budget is done, because you didn’t have enough funding for everything you originally planned.
Draft It Up
Plan to get your first draft done quickly. It doesn’t have to be perfect, or have all of the data yet, but it will give you a framework to work from. It may also help you sense pitfalls or problems you may run into later on.
Early on, collect all of the data you may need in an organized way. This will make it much easier to write your narrative when the time comes. Keep collecting key data you’re likely to need for other proposals. The next time you write a grant, the data will be right where you need it.
Set Small Goals
When you sit down to work on your proposal, take the time to make a few small manageable goals. If you’re goals are too lofty, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Achieving several smaller goals will give you more motivation to keep working.
You may find yourself trying to take on all of the work, because you want the proposal to be perfect. This can lead to hasty work or forgotten pieces of the proposal. Try delegating tasks to others. Assess what each team member’s strength is, and assign them tasks. Use the timeline you created to set times to check in with team members as they work.
When you’re making your timeline, set aside time for rest. This may seem counterintuitive, but taking breaks will reenergize you and fuel your drive to keep working. It also doesn’t hurt to have a bit of a cushion in case something takes longer than planned.
Review, Review, Review
Plan time for proofreading, peer review, and double-checking the budget. It’s very important that your whole proposal is reviewed multiple times by multiple people to ensure accuracy.
Streamline future grant writing by standardizing your processes. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel every time you write a new proposal. Find what works for you, and apply it to future grant writing.
Grant writing takes a lot of good timing. Put these time management skills to use to makes sure you don’t miss those tight deadlines.