Some people find that meeting deadlines can be extremely stressful yet others find they are useful tools to help prioritise their work.
Irrespective of how you view deadlines it is important that you meet them and do so with minimal disruption to your other work and personal life. There are many different techniques to help you deal with deadlines and it is worth taking time to consider which ones work best for you.
Bid, proposal and tender submission deadlines tend to be inflexible and the consequences of not meeting them are significant. In the case of an electronic submission, it is probable that the tender will be rejected and the client will never receive the document. With less formal bids and proposals, the document may be accepted but you will have created a negative first impression.
Approaches to Meet Deadlines
When working on a bid, proposal or tender, many people forget that there should be multiple deadlines (or milestones) along the way. Preparation of a bid document should be approached in the same way as any project delivery meaning that when the individual stages are completed on time, the final one will be too.
This approach, tackling bite-sizes chunks of work, is particularly relevant when the project is large and requires multiple inputs.
The most difficult deadlines to manage are those which are a long way off. It can be very difficult to organise a large amount of work over a long span of time. Use the deadline management tips to help you stay on track and avoid last minute panics.
Capture the deadline
The easiest way to miss a deadline is to forget about it so ensure you know the deadline and put it in your diary or calendar. Once you have done this, double check that you captured the correct date and time because it is easy to transpose figures e.g. 3/5/18 or 5/3/18 or to enter it in the wrong month.
If the deadline is three weeks away, it can be hard to feel any sense of urgency. The temptation can be to put off starting the work but this usually results in a last-minute panic. One way to overcome this is to work out how much time the job will take and then allocate blocks of time into your diary to work on it.
Schedule the tasks
There are many different ways to approach writing a tender but the important part of meeting the submission deadline is to ensure all the tasks are completed. It is usually helpful to break the main task into several smaller ones, each with its own deadline. These smaller tasks can be planned and delivered more easily than trying to find a large chunk of time to tackle the whole job.
There will usually be tasks on your desk which you can delegate to help you meet your deadline. These may be associated with the main project or they could be parts of other jobs such as reporting or planning. If you can involve others in these tasks, you will free up your own time to concentrate on writing the tender.
The easiest way to fail to meet a deadline is to promise to deliver to an unrealistic timescale. Whenever you accept a piece of work or agree to work on a bid document, ensure the time available is sufficient to deliver the work to an acceptable quality level. If it is not, you either need to negotiate a revised deadline, decline to be involved or source additional resources.