5 Sure-Fire Ways to Meet Deadlines For Freelancers & Web Workers

Meeting DeadlinesMeeting 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Cheers,
Abhijeet Mukherjee

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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

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Comments

  1. says

    Great article. and i agree with all of your points, especially ‘work only 5 days a week’. i had to make that rule a year ago, and it’s been great. i get time to unwind, do chores, errands, or just chill, bc i know, during the week, it’s gonna be work work work.

  2. says

    It would be great to do an entire breakdown of the way to track goals that goes beyond the David Seah worksheets.

    I think #5 is true. However, I think work when you work best. Work at your sweet spot.

    Great post. Dugg.

  3. says

    I have an article on this exact topic that I was going to submit to another freelancing site that I write for. Oh well. I guess I had it coming to me because I’ve had a few people tell me that I stole their ideas recently.

    Analyzing my work is a big one for me. It’s easy to waste time doing things that don’t produce any money, but this is pretty noticeable if you’re paying attention.

  4. says

    Great advice Abhijeet, I use my own self hacked Moleskine to keep track of deadlines. I can see the week on one convenient page and it all fits into my handbag.

  5. tony edward says

    Very valuable advice Abhijeet. Thank you very much. This is a bit ironic. I am currently under a deadline for an internship I had just signed on for (ref:OnlineBusinessInternProgram.com) and I was looking for some tips on how to handle myself while under this deadline pressure. Very good stuff indeed. I have bookmarked and will return. Thank you again.

  6. says

    Good advice Abhijeet. The last point is one that I would love to take advantage of, but you’re freelancing part-time, you can’t really afford it. :(

    Instead though, I take the odd weekday off, because it still feels like a day off, but I’m losing much less freelancing time than I would if it were a weekend day.

  7. says

    I used to keep simple text files for each of my clients, when I was freelancing. This means that I can open them up anytime, without depending on any external app/site.

    I wonder how relevant is analyzing yourselves. For one thing, freelancing isn’t like other jobs, so normal analysis wouldn’t be really effective (unless you lack motivation, which is not the case with me).

    Working 5 days a week is something I’d like to do, but unfortunately I’m too addicted with my work ;) I guess I’ll be working 2 days a week once school begins again.

  8. says

    This was a pretty good article, but I think it was targeted more for the established freelancers. In terms of switching to freelancing, it’s my opinion that it’s pretty damn impossible (!) to only work 5 days per week.

    Thanks for the tips, though. Look forward to more contributions.

  9. says

    Do you not proofread? How about keeping your points in order? You have 4 and 5 switched. How’s that happen?

    Also, your hypothetical scenario in #3 is idiotic. A little thought and you could have come up with something plausible.

  10. Chinonso says

    Nice write up, l totallt agree with because putting all these in mind it will help you meet ur deadlines. Tanks.

  11. Tamra says

    Overall not a bad article; Great advice and focuses on the best practices. However- I have to ask- didn’t you notice,Abhijeet , that you numbered your article incorrectly? :P The biggest problem I’m facing in freelancing is focus and concentration…consider writing some great advice about that! AND distractions- working at home, naturally comes with several downsides too,decreased concentration and often many distractions. How to overcome these? I suppose every freelancer has their own methods of operation. Although, I do not have the privilege of having a ‘separate’ work space that I can lock myself into and lock everyone out of…I tried to find the most quiet and relaxing place in our home to work (no, not in the bathroom lol) I found that if I always keep my desk and the room I work in spotless, this results in much less distractions because as the person responsible for housework, housework, cooking, children, family, bills, etc is ALWAYS on my mind- so to eliminate some of those,I start first by keeping my work area clean and tidy. I use an egg timer to remind myself to check the food on the stove or take the clothes out of the washer, etc. I do not have children (a blessing in the area of distractions- there is absolutely no possible way I could do my work AND handle young children! Some can…I can not! lol)
    So, any advice regarding the two topics? Improving concentration and eliminating distractions?
    Great article. Thanks…
    Tamra

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