Did you run out of time this week? Did you have enough time to accomplish everything you wanted to achieve? Did you implement any of the first five tips we outlined in Part 1 of this blog post?
In the previous blog post, we highlighted five tips you can put into action to slow down the clock and help you expand the time you have available for grant writing or other important work.
The first five tips were:
- Don’t Procrastinate
- Figure Out Your Time Wasters
- Turn Off Your Notifications
- Work In Segments
- Make Use Of “Dead” Time
If you haven’t read Part 1 of “10 Easy Ways To Make Time Your Friend,” we encourage you to check that out first, and come back when you’re done.
More Strategies To Slow Down The Clock
Now that you have completed reading Part 1, here are the next five strategies to help you maximize your time.
Time Tip #6 – Say “No” More Often
Saying “no” to important and interesting opportunities can be incredibly difficult for just about anyone. In your quest to help as many people as possible or generate more revenue through additional work or project opportunities, it is often easy to say “yes” to everything that is put in front of you.
For some, it may even be an issue of just feeling guilty about saying “no,” no matter what the ask may be. Saying “yes” to everything that comes your way will quickly put you in a position of feeling overwhelmed and likely leave you feeling pulled in a million directions, unable to give anything your absolute best.
This particular time tip is not about learning to be mean-spirited with people, but about being intentional regarding your priorities and how you need to best spend your time. It can be difficult, but people will respect and understand an intentional and thoughtful “no.”
Is there anyone or anything you can say “no” to this week?
Time Tip #7 – Give Yourself A Break
Kit Kat has made millions of dollars reminding us to “have a break.” The break we are talking about is less about chocolate bars, and more about encouraging you to find time throughout each day to recharge and refuel.
Our brains are like the muscles in our bodies – as they are used, they get tired. Finding time to break for lunch, walk around the block for 15 minutes in the afternoon, or take a short coffee break in the morning allows time for our brains to rest and prepare to be used at a higher capacity as the day progresses. Ultimately, with a break, we get more done, and the quality of the work remains high.
A quote from a Harvard Business Review article says, “Create a workplace that truly values a balanced relationship between intense work and real renewal, and you’ll not only get greater productivity from employees, but also higher engagement and job satisfaction. There’s plenty of evidence that increased rest and renewal serve performance.”
Time Tip #8 – Work With Two Screens
If you have never worked with multiple monitors before, you are about to have your mind blown and your life changed… and you’ll even be able to save a bunch of time. It would be interesting to know how much time can be wasted going back and forth between documents on one screen… but that would be a bit of a waste of time to find out. Just know that by establishing a multiple monitor system, you can simplify your life and speed up a number of grant writing elements.
For example, if you are in the middle of completing a section of a grant proposal that is about your organization, it’s history, mission, and current programs, being able to have your grant proposal on one screen and your website and other relevant documents available on the other will save time as you drop in information and begin to complete your response to the question.
If you don’t have a second screen, try to get one, and begin using it immediately. You’ll save time in both your grant writing and the other daily tasks you have in front of you.
Time Tip # 9 – Leave Empty Space In Your Calendar
Many of us are guilty of planning every second of our day. Leaving some space in our calendar (I know, easier said than done) allows us to create some margin to deal with emergencies and unexpected moments, while still completing the work we had on our to-do list for the day.
As part of leaving some empty space in your calendar, take some time in advance to plan your calendar and set out specific time limits for the work you are doing. It can be difficult to estimate the time it will take for projects you’ve never done before, but as you gain experience, you will get a better sense for what is involved.
By scheduling your calendar of tasks one or two weeks in advance, and including some empty space as part of that process, the goal is to be able to accomplish everything that needs to get done within a manageable timeframe.
Time Tip #10 – Set Daily Goals
While planning your calendar days and weeks in advance can be extremely helpful to keep you on track and focused on a specific plan, taking a few minutes each day before you start your work to set daily goals can also benefit your use of time.
Using your calendar (which has already been mapped out in advance) as your frame of reference, make a list of the tasks that are scheduled to be completed that day. Add anything on the list that has arisen as a priority and make sure your plan for the day is one you can implement. Your daily planning may even force you to change and update some tasks or projects in your calendar for the rest of the week.
As the day progresses, keep your to-do list close by and be encouraged and excited every time you are able to strike something off the list. It is the setting of daily goals, while keeping a clear focus on what needs to get done, that will help you fully maximize your time.
These Tips Work Better Together
We hear you, grant writers. We know time is a foe that too often gets the better of you. We understand that grant deadlines come quickly and many other responsibilities can take priority. Use these tips. Implement them, test them out, and determine which ones work best for you and your situation.
While each one of these ten tips has the ability to support you in slowing down the clock, they ultimately work best when implemented in harmony with one another. It is the impact of many smaller steps that can create significant progress.
It’s time to be honest with yourself and evaluate how effective you are in the way you use your time. You likely have many priorities to juggle and a full schedule in front of you, but finding ways to slow down the clock will help you accomplish the important tasks in the most effective ways.
Don’t let time, or the lack of it, be the deciding factor for whether you choose to write a grant, and don’t let time be the determinant of whether you have submitted your best possible proposal.