Enjoying the ride: Top 5 tips on managing bid stress

Anyone who has worked on a major bid will know that the lead-up to the submission date can feel like running the
gauntlet! With workloads through the roof, tensions high and the deadline refusing
to budge, the final period of a bid timeline can be incredibly stressful.

The good news is that there are several things you can do to prepare yourself for bid ‘crunch-time’. Before
joining the Aurora Marketing team, I spent several years in other fast-paced
environments, where I picked up great strategies for dealing with
deadline-related stress. In my experience, there are actually a lot of
similarities between producing a touring production or a large-scale festival and
putting together a winning tender submission. Each of these working
environments involves a large team working towards fixed deadlines, pouring
their hearts and souls into producing the best product possible for their

So how can you work in an exciting, fast-paced environment without coming out the other end a quivering wreck?
Here are five easy steps that will get you on your way.       

1. Give the marathon the respect it deserves

A major bid is a marathon, not a sprint. If you approach the task by taking a deep breath and
hurling yourself down the track, you’ll likely fall short of the finish line. Thinking of the
final bid phases as a marathon, by comparison, requires some preparation. Take
some time to think about what it is that you personally need to ensure you can
make it through the busy period. Once you’ve decided what it is, commit to
building this into your ‘crunch-time’ schedule.

2. Set expectations

The great part of bidding is that the hectic periods are generally short-term.
If you embrace the fact that some things are going to take a back seat while
you’re nailing your submission, you’ll be much happier and less resentful of the long hours required.
It’s a great idea to set expectations with your family and friends in advance of your
deadline. Let them know that you’d love to catch up just after you’ve finished
your project, but that in the meantime you are likely to be MIA!

3. Identify any potential issues

A big part of understanding and managing stress is identifying its source.
In a deadline-driven environment, stressors are usually related to a large amount of work
needing to be done at the very end of the process. As long as your team is appropriately resourced, you’ll
be able to deal with this pressure by employing our tips. During the earlier
phases of the bid, keep an eye out for any other issues that you can foresee
growing arms and legs when things start to hit fever pitch. Addressing these
early, either by yourself or with the help of a team member, will help you
avoid unnecessary drama at the pointy end of the bid.

4. Knuckle down – discipline and routine

Once you’ve thought about your approach to the marathon, had a chat with your loved
ones and sorted out any potential issues, it’s time to put your personal marathon plan in place.

For me, I’ve found that a disciplined approach is the absolute key to enjoying ‘crunch-time’.
The two things that really allow me to keep on top of things are exercise and healthy food, so
letting these things slide during my busiest times would be a recipe for disaster.

  • Exercise

Commit to including something in your routine that you find reenergising. For
me this might be a 20-minute powerwalk (no matter what time I need to get up to
do it!), but it will be different for everyone. The interesting thing to note
here is that your chosen activity will of course rejuvenate you, but – perhaps
more importantly – the act of committing to giving yourself this important time
will positively impact your frame of mind.

  • Food

Having access to healthy, easy to prepare meals is an absolute must for any
stressful period that will last longer than a couple of days. Prepare some
healthy meals in advance and freeze them if this is an option, otherwise invest
in having meals delivered to your office when you need them or talk to your
team about setting up healthy shared meals.

5. Enjoy!

Once you have your plan in place, you’ll be able to get on with what myself and
the rest of the Aurora team find the most exciting part of bidding – the final countdown
to getting your winning solution in the box!

By taking the time to prepare yourself for the whirlwind that is a major deadline, you’ll be
able to bring your best game when it most matters, enjoying the ride and producing work
that you’re thrilled to present to your clients. 


Kylie is Aurora’s BD and Bid Manager based in Melbourne. Contact Kylie for any queries you have about working with Aurora in Victoria on any type of tender – large or small etc. 


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