Don’t Hibernate on Grants: how to use downtime to prepare for 2023 by Kellie Brungard, GPC

This time of year starts to get a little strange between projects wrapping up for the year, the time change I still have not adjusted to, and differing work schedules for holiday plans and using up vacation time. While some like to bank their paid time off to have a full holiday break (which is fully respectable), I like to use this quieter time to work on projects that get pushed to the side during busy seasons. Here are some ways I like to use downtime to my advantage.

How to Set Yourself up for Success in 2023

Grant Tracking: I keep a personal log of grant projects I wrote or assisted with, including the funder, amount, request status, and date of submission. Ideally, I would update this quarterly. Spend some time reviewing the list of projects completed, update with award notifications, and if time allows, prepopulate projects you know will happen in the new year. If you include this information on your resume or LinkedIn, now is a great time to update those.

Professional Development: If you are grant professional certified (GPC) or maintain another professional certification, review your calendar and update your continuing education tracking. Collect receipts and certificates of completion in a single location (e.g., a CEU desktop folder) for quick access when needed. Think about your goals and priorities for next year and schedule time for webinars or workshops you would like to attend. If you need to speak with your supervisor about an opportunity, set up a reminder for yourself in the new year. Needing inspiration? Check out this previous post!

Get Organized: Turn on your favorite holiday playlist and finally get through that stack of papers that piled up on your printer and see if you actually need any of those half-written sticky notes lying around. ‘Tis the season to remove everything from your desk and sanitize. If you feel inspired, find a solution to wrangle all your cords and cables (like this).

Face the Files: Once you have your space organized, fill your cup of coffee and tackle those computer files. You know, the ones that have various drafts and notes? Now is the perfect time to refresh your commonly used attachments and content, organize your files, and make notes of items to address in the new year.

Annual Feel-Good File: As grant professionals, sometimes our work can feel siloed. We can spend countless hours working on a meaningful project or help a client through a particularly difficult obstacle and then quickly move on to the next project. Time goes by, and you forget about those moments that made a difference. Much like Spotify sends users a #SpotifyWrapped list of their top songs each year, open up a blank document and start a list of the positive moments that were meaningful to you. This can include words of gratitude from a client or a positive review from a colleague or your boss, projects that were challenging but oh-so-sweet when you finally submitted the work, or maybe it was that you worked toward one of your goals or faced a fear of public speaking. It may seem awkward at first to create a list of accomplishments and acknowledgements you received throughout the year. This may be counter-intuitive to pat ourselves on the back; however, next time you are feeling down, facing a new challenge, or advocating for a new role, this list of successes and achievements becomes a tool to show your value and skill.

These are just a few ideas for ways you can use this slower pace during the holiday season to set yourself up for success in 2023. However, be sure you are giving yourself the break you need to spend time with family and friends or maybe catch up on that pile of books you have on the nightstand. In whatever way you choose to spend this season, I hope you are able to fill your cup with moments of joy and peace.

This BLOG is aligned with the Grant Professional Certification Institute’s Competencies and Skills

Competency #5: Knowledge of post-award grant management practices sufficient to inform effective grant design and

Skill 5.5: Identify appropriate records retention for completed grant awards

Competency #7: Knowledge of practices and services that raise the level of professionalism of grant developers

Skill 7.2: Identify advantages of participating in professional organizations that offer grant developers growth opportunities
and advance the profession

Competency #8: Knowledge of methods and strategies that cultivate and maintain relationships between fund-seeking
and recipient organizations and funders

Skill 8.3: Identify methods of relationship cultivation, communication, recognition, and stewardship that might appeal to specific funders

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