Last year was hectic: I worked on more than 50 bids in various capacities across the whole range of built environment disciplines. That’s 50 deadlines, 50 teams, 50 tender specifications and 50 sets of questions to get to grips with, and while I worked on some high-profile projects, got a lot done and helped clients win some great contracts, it did have a big impact on my own life. So, over the past month or so, I’ve really had a think about how I can best provide value to clients and bids, how I want to work and what I want to achieve in 2020.

Changing the focus of my work

The frequently last-minute nature of my work has long been a frustration, as well as the difficulty of mitigating the impact of constant deadlines. I’ve thought about how I can change this and have decided to focus on helping clients to get bid-ready by developing bid libraries and collateral, such as CVs and case studies. This will put them in a much better place to bid for work when the right opportunities come along.

I will be declining last minute requests to work on bids, but will share my bid writer contact list with clients, to signpost them to other people who may be able to help. I will still be working on submissions for long-term clients, where I know good base content exists, as well as bids where clients have engaged me early in the process. Working like this will enable me to gain back control of my diary and my life in general, as well as reducing the 60-hour weeks which I no longer find sustainable. And these two aspects combined will allow me to deliver a higher quality of service to clients, so it’s win-win.

As part of this approach, I am offering set price packages to audit bid content and develop bid-ready strategies. Get in touch if this sounds like it would be something that would benefit your business. 

Diversifying

I’ve never made a secret of my interest in the esoteric and became a reiki master in 2019, which was a staging post in a journey that had taken six years to that point. I also trained in hypnotherapy last year, enabling me to work with people in a different way to bid writing. I will be doing more of this work in 2020, starting with setting up lunchtime meditation sessions local to where I live. Obviously this is a departure to my bid writing career, but I feel inspired to do it.

Listen to more podcasts and audiobooks

I spend most of the day reading and writing, so it’s often the last thing I feel like doing when I finish work. I am, however, a big fan of the radio and listening to podcasts and audiobooks. I will be listening to more of these this year. My preference is non-fiction and I recommend The Sun King by David Dimbleby if you have an Audible account. I listened to this during my holiday in Egypt before Christmas and it was a fascinating account of the rise (and rise) of Rupert Murdoch. I’ve just started listening to a very academic account of life in Ancient Egypt, inspired by my holiday – it’s 19 hours long, so will keep me occupied for a while.

Walk (even) more

Walking has always been my favourite form of exercise and I’m never happier than when I’m walking in the Peak District, even if the weather’s a bit meh! I have committed to hiking twice a week, so if you can’t get hold of me on a Wednesday morning, you know where I’ll be. I plan to walk the Gritstone Trail this year, an approximately 35-mile mooch that will take me from Disley near Stockport down to Kidsgrove in Staffordshire. I won’t be walking it all in one day though!

Keep learning more about food and cooking

The long-hours culture of both my job and the industry I’ve spent most of my career in has had disastrous effect on how I’ve eaten over the years, grabbing stuff for ease because I didn’t have time to either cook or eat properly. I spent a lot of last year un-learning this bad behaviour and invested in myself by working with Tailored Nutrition. It has been worth every penny and I have been amazed by the impact of food on mood, energy levels and general well-being. Laura is offering free 30-minute consultations to anyone interested in exploring the power of food to improve their health.

I’ve also enjoyed learning to cook new things and will be continuing this habit in 2020 – I’ve recently rediscovered butternut squash, which is delicious roasted, and who knew that celery and peanut butter could be such a fabulous mid-afternoon pick-me-up? Much nicer than a chocolate bar or biscuit. 

Travel more

I’ve travelled a lot over the past few years – probably more than I have done in my entire adult life and it’s taught me a lot. I am going to Finland and Russia over the summer and will probably return to southern Africa next winter – it’s an area of the world that I love. But I also love the UK – in the sunshine there is nowhere more beautiful – and would like to explore more of the 700 islands off the Scottish coast – ideas are welcome! I also plan to visit each of the four capital cities of the UK, so I’m all ears for suggestions of things to see and do. I will spend many spring and summer weekends in my canvas holiday home and have always got my eyes peeled for campsite suggestions. 

What are your goals for 2020? I like the idea of focusing on the positive aspect of gaining new skills and experiences, rather than the old-style resolutions to (generally) stop a negative pattern of behaviour. So, here’s to the 2020s – may they be productive and constructive for us all.