What is the Most Important Four-Letter Word in Good Proposal Development?

All proposal professionals are heavily dependent on good processes and step-by-step action plans to develop good proposals. Without them, our work would be very chaotic and unproductive.

However, amidst these processes and plans, there is one four-letter word that stands out: done.

According to a number of neuro-psychologists, when working, our brains electrical activity is heightened. But when we say or think we are done, the electrical activity in our brains declines and serotonin is released, which creates a sense of relaxation and calm. As Lisa Evans points out in an article in Fast Company, this enables us to move on to the next task with confidence and a renewed sense of energy.

So, proposal professionals should multiply the opportunities to say the word “done.” Here are four ways you can increase the likelihood that you will use the word “done” more frequently:
Break large tasks into smaller ones. This has always been famed management guru Peter Drucker’s basic advice to managers. While many proposal tasks are lengthy and complex, breaking them down into smaller, manageable chunks makes the tasks more achievable and easier to do. This enables you to say “done” more often.

Work in short segments. Choose mini-tasks that can be accomplished in relatively short periods of time. This makes accomplishing larger tasks more realistic and enables you to gain a sense of accomplishment, propelling you to the next mini-task.

Envision yourself completing the task. When you imagine that you have completed a task, you create a sense of motivation and momentum that can help you to complete it more quickly and effectively.

Take “done” breaks. For some bizarre reason, many proposal professionals continue to believe that working long hours without breaks increases productivity and enables them to accomplish a great deal of work. Not true. During the workday, we need to take many small breaks to reset our minds and relax for a few minutes. Breaking down large tasks into smaller “done” ones will enable you to take more breaks (walk around the office, get a coffee, etc.) and will actually make you more productive.

Okay, now I’m done.

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