Surviving the Shutdown: Three Things You Should be Doing

In the midst of the Government shutdown, many of us are experiencing a lull in bid and proposal work. Because we are so used to the fast-paced environment of our profession, we may start to get antsy when we experience such slowdowns. However, we should really embrace this downtime and use it to our advantage. Here are three things to tackle while things are slow.

1. Update your Proposal Library. How often do we complain that our baseline past performance write-ups are out of date? That we don’t have enough proof points? That our metrics are out of date and stale? Use this downtime to do the research that can go by the wayside when Requests for Proposals (RFPs) are live. I know this isn’t the most exciting task, but when your content is ready for you during the next proposal, you’ll be glad you put forth this proactive effort!

2. Refresh your Skills and Certifications. Have you been putting off getting a certification because you just have not had the time or energy for it? Now is just the time! Use this slower time to get your next level of APMP Certification, study up on the latest industry best practices, strengthen your writing skills, or sharpen any other skill you’ve been meaning to improve. There has never been a better time to invest in yourself! 

3. Do a Deep Dive Lessons Learned Analysis. Ideally, you’ve been maintaining individual lessons learned after each proposal submission and award debrief. While things are slow, take a look at those lessons learned debriefs from the last year or so and analyze them for trends. Look at common themes and share those trends with your team. Understanding these trends will not only help you to improve in the areas that may need some work, it will also allow you to pinpoint the things that have enabled you score well. Use these findings to update your business development and proposal processes where necessary!

Just because things are slow in the world of bid and proposals, that doesn’t mean you can’t still be productive. Of course you should embrace the slower work pace and the reduced stress levels, but I encourage you to use this time to make your life easier for when the workload increases again. Update your proposal library, enhance your skills and certifications, and conduct lessons learned so that you and your company can improve in the upcoming year. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later!

Written by Ashley Kayes, CP APMP
Senior Proposal Consultant, AOC Key Solutions, Inc. (KSI)


  1. At times giving yourself a break is also equally important btwn bids!!

  2. Thank you so much for commenting. And I definitely agree! I just took a week off after a crazy bid. Downtime is definitely key to keeping our sanity in this profession!

    However, for many of us, the shutdown created a several month lull. For those working for contractors, leadership can start to get antsy with so much overhead and no resulting "work" to show for it.

    This was just meant to be some ideas on how you could help your teams perform more effectively after you take your downtime. Preparation while things are slow can make your life so much easier when things get crazy busy: "Of course you should embrace the slower work pace and the reduced stress levels, but I encourage you to use this time to make your life easier for when the workload increases again."


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