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I don’t need to tell you how stressful proposal deadlines can be. Here are five tips to help you make it through:

1. Eat Lunch

Let’s face it. It’s a miracle on a normal day to eat lunch away from your desk, let alone out of the office. And, now that you have a big deadline fast approaching, of course there’s no chance you’re considering leaving your desk for anything remotely looking like lunch, right? We get it. It’s a stressful time and you’re busy. But taking lunch away from your desk AND out of the office is actually more important now than ever. If you take just 15 minutes to eat lunch outside of your office, and dedicate this time just for you, you will be refreshed and happier. GUARANTEED. If you take 30 minutes or an hour, even better! It is important to take care of yourself during this especially busy time. Don’t let anybody tell you any different.

2. Have Fun

Putting a proposal together is not always fun, especially when the deadline date is looming, your PI is dragging their feet on providing the research plan and they told you about the proposal late to begin with. Creating proposals can be a stressful endeavor, but it can also be fun if you let it. Challenge yourself to get the budget complete and approved by the PI before lunch, then treat yourself to a nice little lunch out of the office (see above). Set a goal to complete a section of the proposal by a certain time and when you get it done, stand up from your desk and do a dance. Play music from your cell or let it be music just in your head, but definitely let people around you see you dance. Celebrate! Let yourself be silly. Have fun!

3. Waste Time

You might think that any time away from working on your proposals is a waste of time, when actually small breaks as you go help you stay more focused on the proposal. Set a timer on your cell or your computer for 1 hour. Each hour, get up from your desk, get some water, say hi to a friend, or grab a cookie, then come back to your desk and get back to it. Getting up and moving about will keep your blood circulating which will keep you alert and help you complete your proposal more efficiently than if you didn’t get up for long periods of time.

4. Be Fearless

Don’t worry about, or be afraid of the deadline. Fear builds a hurdle that can slow you down or block you from getting your proposals done. You don’t need that. You don’t deserve that. So don’t be afraid. When you start to feel anxious, look up from what you’re doing, look out a window if you can, put your hand over your heart, breathe in for 3 seconds and out for another 3 seconds, do that 3 times, and tell yourself out loud “I am strong. I can do this.” Be good to yourself. Be strong. You can do this.

5. Have a Drink

Whatever your favorite beverage is, be it a glass of wine or a milkshake, pour one for yourself at the end of the day. Or, even better, go out and have one poured for you. Then take the glass in your hand, lift it up and smile. This is a toast for you and what you do every day. We hope you feel accomplished and proud of your work. We are proud of you.

Want to know more about how to survive the next big proposal deadline and how eRA software can help? Sign up for a free software demo. You’ll learn how eRA software can specifically help you and your institution.