How to effectively deal with a tough deadline
Are you having problems with deadlines? No matter how much time you have to complete a project, do you always feel the need to hurry up? Do you often encounter deadlines that feel too tight for you?
Do not worry. You are not alone in your fight against deadlines. Most freelancers have deadline problems at some point in their careers, while many freelancers are constantly faced with tight deadlines. Even worse, such work can create a lot of stress: no one likes to miss a cherished date.
Fortunately, there are some tactics you can use to deal effectively with most deadlines – even the toughest ones. In this post, we’ll take a look at 19 of these tactics, focusing on what you can do before, during, and after your project is completed.
Before you start a project
Some of the most effective tactics for successful deadline management start before you even get started. Here are a few steps to take before you embark on a project to ensure that the deadline is met:
- Get detailed volume. Getting the right amount of work is an important part of meeting deadlines. You don’t want to be surprised by unexpected work during a project, which is usually the main reason for missing deadlines.
- Evaluate the project as accurately as possible. The best way to do this usually is to break the project down into smaller tasks and estimate how long each will take. You can also use your notes from previous projects.
- Include extra time in your work agreement. Chances are, during the project, you will run into unexpected complications. In addition, you do not know what other problems may arise in the process of working on a project. For example, you might get sick.
- Take a look at your existing projects before starting a new one. If your current projects have very flexible deadlines, you need to set aside enough time to meet your commitments on an existing project while still getting the new work done.
- Agree on tight deadlines. If the deadline requested by the client seems too harsh for you, ask if you might have extra time to turn in the job. Some freelancers are afraid to ask for a deadline change, but many clients are more flexible with deadlines than you might think.
- Think carefully about urgent assignments before accepting them. Rush jobs often lead freelancers to lag behind their current job. Make sure you really have enough time for this before accepting urgent work. In addition, rush orders are a whim of the client, so it is perfectly acceptable to charge extra for them.
- Set aside dedicated time to work on your project. Scheduling will help you stay on track. Plan what tasks you need to complete each day. This is much better than trying to cram work into “whenever” you have a little time.
Once you’ve properly prepared to meet the deadline, you’re ready to get started.
During the project
If you want to meet a deadline, you need to be careful about your work during the project. Here are some tips to help you work more efficiently:
- Get started as soon as possible. When it comes to work, procrastination can lead to despair. Don’t wait until the last minute before starting a new project. Instead, get a head start.
- Prioritize tasks. Plan your most important tasks first. The next step is to solve large or complex problems. Finally, be the last to schedule additional tasks.
- Use an effective method of time management. Good time management will also save you from burnout.
- Stay focused. Don’t let your thoughts wander somewhere when you really have to work. A good way to stay in shape is to eat right and get enough rest. Also, make sure your work area is free of distractions and turn down or turn off the ringtone on your phone.
- Track your progress. Compare how much you do each day with how much you expected to do. If you start to lag behind, you may have to work extra hours or seek help.
- Pause non-project related tasks if necessary. For example, social media engagement is one of the tasks that you can put off temporarily. If you’re already actively responding to social media inquiries and interacting with potential customers, skipping one day won’t hurt. Just don’t make it a habit.
- Hire additional helpers if you can. If the project turns out to be significantly more time-consuming than you anticipated, you may need to outsource some parts of it to other freelancers. It is a good idea to know in advance which colleague you can count on.
- Check the work carefully before submitting it. No matter how rushed you are, you cannot afford to damage your reputation by doing sloppy or erroneous work.
Your project should now be completed and on time.
When the project is completed
Even though the project is complete, you are still not finished with the deadline. Here are some final steps you should take:
- Submit your project to the client early if you can. Staying ahead of the client’s deadline, even by just one day, can make a good impression.
- Receive confirmation of receipt of the project. Make sure the client actually received the project. I once emailed a completed job to a client, only to find out later that the system was out of order. The client never received my email with the attached project, and it looks like I missed the deadline.
- Issue an invoice quickly. It’s a fact: the longer you wait to bill a customer, the more likely you are to have trouble getting paid.
- Ask your client for feedback. Finally, you should figure out what you could do better. Pay close attention to any suggestions the client makes. Good feedback can help you with future projects.
Source: Freelance Today