Proposal brain

Do you feel forgetful? Is your thinking cloudy? Are you making mistakes? Are you scrambling your words? If so, chances are you have “proposal brain” or what some call “brain fry.” In my experience, working long hours over a stretch of several days without a break causes the problem and no amount of sugar, caffeine or binge watching your favorite shows can cure it.

So, what causes this occupational hazard? I used to work with a doctor who chalked it up to mental fatigue or too many hours spent in front a computer screen without a break. Some people can go for several days without feeling the effects of proposal brain and some just hours.

So, if you get proposal brain how can you to get rid of it? Here are five tips, I found helpful.

  1. Step away from the screen – Leave your office and go for a walk to take your mind off the work.
  2. Phone a friend – Talk about something funny or something that makes your laugh.
  3. Do something creative that does not involve a computer screen – Build, clean, create or organize something. If you are a musician take time to play a song.
  4. Get some exercise – Even if it is just wadding up old proposal papers and pitching them into the burn box. This exercise may also feel cathartic.
  5. Take a walk in the woods – My all-time favorite. There have been many research studies indicating that being in calm green space can reduce mental fatigue.

If you have any remedies for fighting proposal brain, please send them to us!

By Brenda Crist, Vice President at Lohfeld Consulting Group, MPA, CPP APMP Fellow

Lohfeld Consulting Group has proven results specializing in helping companies create winning captures and proposals.

As the premier capture and proposal services consulting firm focused exclusively on government markets, we provide expert assistance to government contractors in Go-to-Market Strategy, Capture Planning and Strategy, Proposal Management and Writing, Capture and Proposal Process and Infrastructure, and Training. In the last 3 years, we’ve supported over 550 proposals winning more than $135B for our clients—including the Top 10 government contractors. Lohfeld Consulting Group is your “go-to” capture and proposal source! Start winning by contacting us at and join us on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter.