Have you ever considered the implication of taking on a lot of jobs? Of course, that means having many upcoming deadlines to beat. However, you will agree with me that managing your workload and deadlines to avoid any undue stress is a crucial aspect in your freelancing career. In this post, I will be sharing with you some useful tips to help you eliminate deadline stress. Before this, let me first help you diagnose a condition!
Lately, have you been showing abnormal behavior like sorting through the myriads of paper on your desk with gusto, checking your inbox too often at every rise in heart beat and finally, snapping when a harmless fellow asks you a polite question? If so, then am afraid you have what I call "chronic deadline disorder"! I mean you have a clear blend of mounting tension coupled with absolute avoidance, that ultimately explodes into frenzy of activity prior to your delivery on a milestone. Simply put, you fall a victim of procrastination! Even though you may actually meet the deadline, you will loose much of your vigor and enthusiasm, with only a little or no motivation to make you move ahead on your next projects. The cycle continues: stress and pressure mount on you again until it spills over yet another series of flurry and all nighters. You may argue that this is in line with the norms of freelancing. Well, my dear freelancer, this is absolutely NOT what freelancing is all about! It doesn't have to be this way, you don't have to be "milked dry" to be a good freelancer that meets deadlines. Here are my tips to help you eliminate the deadline stress!
Dwell more thoughts on the begining than the end.
I know how hard it can be to secure a new writing task at times, especially, if you do not have a number of clients who offer you repeated tasks. But, this does not mean that after much ado to get a job and you eventually land one, that you allow yourself to be so excited about it that you do nothing about your task until you are within days of the deadline with no room for error. If you desire to eliminate stress that comes with meeting deadlines, you will need to shift your focus from the end of the game and do whatever you have to do right now.
The Time to Review is Right Away.
Once you receive an assignment, it is advisable you review it within the next 24 ~ 48 hours. Doing this will afford you enough opportunity to dramatically reduce your fear about starting the project because you can assess the scope of the work without having to do anything about it right away. In addition, this is also the right time to follow up and ask your client any questions at the beginning of the process. This will prove the best way to build trust with your client, rather than realizing that you need to call the client shortly before the deadline for clarifications.
In the course of your project review, divide your entire project into specific action steps that are allotted different time frames. For example, if the project entails designing a landscape, your steps could read as follows:
*Inquire preferences from clients, four weeks before milestone
* Research similar landing pages, 3 weeks before milestone
*Come up with a rough draft, two weeks before milestone
*Receive feedback from client concerning the draft, 7 days before milestone
*Make final edits, 3 days before milestone
*Submit the landing page, on milestone
Follow up and Pay Attention.
Ideally, people respond to questions quickly in the real world. But the business world is not as perfect as you would expect, in most cases. So, take it upon yourself to follow up on your requirements to getting the work submitted on time. When you send your client a request or need some feedback, it pays to save the request on a file. Then, make a note in your calendar and don't forget to follow up by email or phone.
Decide on Priorities
For the pleasure of your client and long-term success as a freelancer, you should commit all your zeal to producing high quality work. On the contrary, if you find yourself missing deadlines or putting pressure on yourself to meet deadlines, because the details are not significant to deliver on the requirements of your client, then it is time to use a different method. First, complete the most important aspect of the project. After that, you can go back and refine the little details you would like to complete, if you still have time. Deadlines should not stress a freelancer out. Just make sure you focus on what you can control now and plan out your time well. Don't forget to give yourself a little room in case the unexpected happens.To do this, always make sure you have a "fake deadline", set by yourself, for every project you handle, shorter than the actual deadline set by your client. This means that you can still finish the project before the patience of your client runs out, as you will have carefully and effectively planned for the unexpected!