Meeting deadlines and targets is a major area of concern for many freelancers and web workers, especially if you get loads of work and find it difficult to do justice to all of them.
The topic of this post is not new and you are sure to find a lot of suggestions on the web on meeting deadlines and managing expectations and goals. However I decided to pick this topic and approach it in a slightly different manner.
If you keep the following 5 points in mind I am sure it will help a great deal in meeting your deadlines. And don’t forget to share your own tips and tricks in the comment section! :)
1: Set Expectations…With Yourself
Everyone talks about setting expectations with clients and negotiating with them. But do you set expectations for yourself before taking work? When you tell a client you can write 3 articles in 5 days, are you 100% sure you can do it?
It is important to realize what you can accomplish without stressing yourself too hard. Hence the best way to do it is to underpromise and overdeliver. So if you think you can write 3 articles in 5 days, it’s better to tell the client that you will do 2 in 5 days and then see if you can do it. If you are able to do it easily in time then just take on more work. This way you will always live up to your as well as your client’s expectations.
2: Prioritize Your Work
Prioritizing your work is important primarily for those who deal with more than one client at a time. You need to prioritize the work before starting it and assign them levels according to their importance.
Of course every client is important. But here’s an example: Lets say on a day you are not keeping well and you have to submit projects to 2 clients. Now here we have 2 scenarios:
- You stress yourself too hard and finish both the projects and make both the clients happy. However, then it has an adverse impact on your health and later you find that you can hardly work for the next 3 or 4 days.
- You decide to postpone work of that client who you know wouldn’t mind and his project can be postponed. And you complete the project of the other client, because you know it is more important and also the client is not always very co-operative.
I think, #2 is much better because you are not stressing yourself too hard there. If you say that you don’t work with “the other” client then I’d like to tell you that not every client is the same and if you are a freelancer, you should know how to tackle different clients and corresponding projects. And that can be done best by prioritizing your work.
3: Keep Track of Dates and Occasions
Has it happened when on a nice day, you decide that you will complete a particular project but then suddenly you remember that today is your friend’s wedding (or something of that importance)… ah… and you can’t miss it…no way… he’s your buddy!
This happened to me and to avoid such situations, every week I check the upcoming dates for any holidays or occasions. Now you obviously cannot keep track of sudden things or emergencies, but things like wedding, holidays or family outings are usually decided much earlier then the date, so you just need to keep them in mind.
5: Analyze Your Accomplishments Everyday
Whether you worked for one hour today or ten hours, its important that before you hit the sack, you sit for 10 mins and analyze what were your plans for the day, how much work were you able to complete and what you need to do the next day.
Such an analysis helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses and the potential obstacles in your work which you need to deal with. And its important to do it everyday because thats how you can become more efficient and work better.
4: Try To Work Just 5 Days A Week
It doesn’t matter if you have a lot of time this week and you’re mostly at home, try to work just 5 days – Monday to Friday, even if you are a freelancer and can go to your computer anytime. Its important to take time off. Leave the week-ends off, even if you know you’d be able to work on these 2 days. That way you’ll always have 2 extra days which can compensate for time offs, sudden events, sickness, emergencies etc. And this way you will always be able to meet your deadlines even if you can’t work for a day or two in the week.
I hope the above points can help you being you more productive and helping you meet deadlines.
How do you meet your deadlines? Do you have a planned approach which helps you complete your work in a timely manner? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Abhijeet Mukherjee is a blogger and freelance writer. He is a regular contributer for many blogs notably including DumbLittleMan.com and MakeUseOf.com. He also maintains his own blog about tech tips, productivity hacks and blogging tips – Jeet Blog