During Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 (14–20 May 2018) we thought it fitting to write a piece about how to manage the stress of bids and bid writing.
Stress is clarified as ‘a feeling of being under abnormal pressure’. Bid writing can be a stressful job role, or even just a task on its own. Writing a bid tends to include strict deadlines, and management of an often-complicated bid submission whose importance others within the organisation may not recognise!
We discuss the main techniques you can use to reduce the stress when writing a tender submission.
One way to reduce stress in any situation is to plan and prepare effectively. If you are a bid writer, bid manager or just tasked with completing a bid submission for your organisation, it can seem daunting. Break the bid down into sections and create a writing plan. This should be a lot more manageable and will help you to plan your time more effectively.
If you are involved in bids on a regular basis, try to compile a pipeline for all bid submissions so you can plan ahead and allocate time to important projects as soon as they land on your desk. Without preparation, one or multiple bid submissions can feel overwhelming and extremely stressful.
I am sure our team of bid writers would agree that the key to being a successful bid writer is project management. You are always working to a deadline; this will rarely change and should dictate your whole bid submission. Make sure you know exactly what you must complete in what time scale, so that nothing comes as a surprise! Monitor the progress of your writing and bid management tasks: if you are nearing the deadline and still have 50% of the bid left to complete then it may be time to enlist help from a colleague to ensure it is completed on time and not rushed.
Take regular breaks
People can underestimate how tasking bid writing is. Once you total up the word count for a bid it may be in the region of 10,000 words, or more! This is quite an undertaking and should not be rushed or copied from old material that isn’t relevant just to save time. Try to approach your tender responses with ‘fresh eyes’ and take regular breaks to prevent becoming overwhelmed. To refer back to the preparation stage, a writing plan can significantly help and will allow you to schedule breaks.
Do not be afraid to say no!
There is only so much you can take on in a job role. If multiple bid submissions are piling up, do not be afraid to say no and admit there is too much to handle. This is a much better solution than rushing a bid, becoming extremely stressed and then not winning the contract because of it. If your organisation has resource issues when it comes to bidding for contracts, you may wish to seek assistance from an external source to manage busy periods.
For more information please see 10 tips to look after your mental health available from the Mental Health Foundation.