The sun is shining, the temperatures are soaring, school is out for the summer, and grant professionals across the country are carefully analyzing their grant calendars to see how or if they need to modify their vacation plans. Sound familiar?
In New York, the Consolidated Funding Application deadlines have been a summer deadline each of the past four years. This year, with a July 29th deadline, grant professionals in the state cheered that at least we would have August available for vacations.
Whether you are an employee or a consultant, our personal time off is typically closely linked to our grant deadlines. Sometimes though, when vacations require significant pre-planning, a grant deadline will appear with a due date right during or after a vacation. So how can you successfully balance your grant deadlines and very important self-care of summer vacation whether it be an occasional long weekend, stay-cation, or week-long beach vacation?
5 Tips for Balancing Grant Deadlines & Summer Vacations
A few tips that we have tried and have seen colleagues successfully implement or utilize in order to make summer smooth sailing while balanncing their deadlines and vacation plans.
1. Create a summer schedule of shorter days.
If your employer will allow it, try working a shortened summer schedule. Working 6 hours without the interruption of social media is better than 9 hours in the office. You will achieve your deadlines and then some in a shorter period of time. Or perhaps a shortened schedule isn’t possible each day, but what about working 4 ten-hour days during the summer months in order to earn every Friday off? Be creative and talk to your employer about possible options.
2. Create meeting free days.
If this isn’t already a practice you use year round, set one day a week as meeting free days in order to focus exclusively on writing grant application narratives or application attachments. This ensures you are on top of your internal deadlines to meet the funder deadlines. This is a great practice year round, but makes balancing long weekends or shortened work days even easier.
3. Ask grant team members about their vacation schedule.
There is nothing worse than planning for a deadline around the schedules you are aware of, yours included, only to realize that a key player for the grant team will be out the week prior to the deadline. Send a special email, or make it an agenda early in the summer to ask colleagues that provide information and support for your grant applications about their scheduled vacation plans.
4. Be honest with grant team members about YOUR vacation schedule.
As you plan your vacation plans for the summer, whether a long weekend or a full week away, let your colleagues know your plans and how you will be moving up internal grant deadlines as a result. By pre-planning and preparing to move up internal deadlines you will reduce your stress leading up to your vacation time and help colleagues understand the new internal deadlines versus funder dictated timelines.
5. Get outside each day to enjoy the summer weather either before or after your work day.
Schedule in outdoor time each day, even if it is a full work day to ensure that you enjoy the summer weather and activities in some way each day. This can be a sunrise bike ride, a walk in the park after work, stopping for ice cream at a local custard stand and enjoying it with friends or family outdoors.
What other tips do you have that have worked for you for managing summer grant deadlines with summer vacation plans? We would love to hear! Share in the comments section on the website, via social media, or drop at email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Better yet? Share a picture of your vacation moments this summer and use the hashtag #lifeasagrantwriter to help show other colleagues how it is that you are balancing your deadlines and self-care!