As many of your professors will tell you, if you haven’t already figured it out, January is the mid-year time to get work done. And if you don’t already have enough to do (writing articles, planning courses, etc.) it’s also, of course, a great time to work on grant proposals. Here are some tips for approaching the process and organizing your time!
Divide and Conquer
How many proposals do you have to do? How much time do you have? Split up your remaining days and weeks and schedule times to consider each proposal. If you have three proposals to write, and 15 more days, you might give yourself, say, four days for each, and then a couple of days at the end to proofread. Alternately, you could look at the applications, see that you have to write 2 personal statements, 3 research statements, and a cover letter, and prepare 2 sets of transcripts and a list of courses taught. Give yourself 5 days for the personal statements and cover letter, 5 for the research statements, and a few days for the other tasks, and then a few days for proofreading.
All this is assuming that these aren’t the only things you’re doing. In those five days, it might be that you spend a few hours a day on these documents, and then the rest of the day on other work, family, relaxing…
[Resources on writing and productivity, courtesy of Kathleen from the Graduate Writing Initiative here and here.]
Visualize your work
Don’t work well planning things out rigidly in advance? Create some kind of display of the work you have to do so that you can glance at it and pick a task. Examples could include a board of post-it notes divided into different spaces for different tasks.
Heading: Grant Proposal A. Post-its: personal statement, research statement, transcripts, budget.
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