The world may be an ever-changing place, but never has it been quite so true in our generation. Faced with social distancing and sheltering-in-place, our society is facing new challenges on how to cope with a virtual world, and the challenges of remote proposal writing can be difficult to overcome. Over the last several weeks, I’ve learned many strategies to not only succeed in writing proposals, but to excel.
Writing is a Social Process
Locked in a war room with your proposal team, one of your coworkers orders take out from your favorite local restaurant. You settle in for the long haul, expecting to spend days locked in the same room as the rest of your proposal team. Proposal war rooms may not have survived the pandemic, but proposal writing is still a social process. Proposal writing is a collaborative task; it encompasses the efforts of several different critical employees pooling their resources to create a single document. Recreating that war room virtually is a challenging task but not an impossible one.
Staying connected has never been more critical than in our remote world. Whether your team is using a virtual meeting platform, such as Zoom, GoToMeeting, Google Meet, or Microsoft Skype, or relying on cellular phones, keeping an open communication channel is critical to maintaining the social writing process and creating the virtual war room. Find a platform that works for you and your team and stick with it; consistency in communication will ensure tasks are accomplished successfully and keep you and your company on track to seeing this crisis through.
Finding Your Groove
In 2019, maybe you grabbed a cup of coffee from the local cafe down the street and settled into your office or maybe you brewed a cup of tea from your kitchen and sat down in your home office to piece together that proposal. Either way, you had an established routine that placed your mind in the right place to pump out that proposal with ease. Now with social distancing, you were thrown off your groove and have to reestablish your rhythm. Even if you were already working from home, maybe now your spouse or roommate is as well and you have to share working space, or your children no longer have school or daycare, so you have to balance parenting with working in a way you did not before the crisis. Either way, your well-established writing routine has to adjust to the change.
Writing is a routine-dependent task; I know I am not alone when I find it difficult to find my groove in a new environment when I am dependent on routine to put my brain into the right gear for writing, but little did I know how much I depended on that routine to draft that proposal. While adjusting to a new working environment, try to maintain your usual routine as much as possible. Not only is it imperative to be flexible with your team, it is important to be cognizant of your own constraints and give yourself additional time to accomplish tasks, even if they are routine and familiar. Both your writing and your boss will thank you for it.
Locked inside your home nearly all day, it becomes all too easy to fall into the trappings of continuously working. While trying to stay connected and maintain open communication channels, it is increasingly important to take that call, respond to that email, or edit that proposal section as soon as possible. Most government agencies have not slowed down, so neither–it seems–can you. But in the new world where we are inundated with constant media coverage of the escalating pandemic, making time to take a break is critical to your mental and physical health. Shut the laptop, turn off your phone, and step away from your desk for a mental break from your day. Find a relaxing activity that recharges your mental energy, whether that’s jogging, walking, or exercising; reading a chapter from a book, watching an episode from your favorite TV show, or playing a new video game; or creating something, like cookies, candles, or crafts. Taking a moment to disconnect is critical to your productivity as you will still need plenty of downtime to produce exceptional proposals.