5 coping mechanisms for grant stress

Stop me if this sounds familiar: You’re in the final stages of your grant application, the deadline is looming, and you have an overwhelming feeling of dread that you won’t get all the work done in time.

If you’re thinking of throwing in the towel, think again: You’ve reached the point of no return.

According to Alan Silver in his book, “How to Win Grants,” giving up on your grant application now means throwing away countless hours of work. Unless you are seriously ready to waste those efforts, you have to find ways to cope with the stress. Silver suggested these five coping strategies that will help you get to the finish line:

  • Identify the one big issue about the project that bugs you and do something about it now. You can either resolve it yourself, let your project partners know how you plan to resolve it, or ask them for their help.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. You can’t reasonably expect yourself to be simultaneously a writer, subject-matter expert, statistician, public relations whiz, evaluation design expert, and accounting/financial guru.
  • Decide something — anything. Even it’s something small, make a decision about some aspect of the project.
  • Pile up your mess of information and put it behind you. Then take the top item off the pile and place it before you. If it turns out to be irrelevant to the project toss it; if not, work it into your narrative and then get it out of your sight.
  • Take a little piece of the project and go somewhere else to work on it. Try a place less cluttered and stressful than your desk or workstation, such as your back porch or a coffee house.