Deadline is the most stressful term of a working life and more specifically for freelancers; deadline is really something that acts as a nightmare. Managing deadlines becomes a tiring job for freelancers who follow their own working hours. Freelancers are those who work from their own comfort zone during comfortable working hours without committing any longer bond with a client or a company. They work during their comfortable hours unlike office staff whose working hours are scheduled to be followed strictly. Thus, failure in managing proper working might create great problems for freelancers in managing deadlines. Deadlines are of various types such as rush deadlines, one time deadlines and phased deadlines and so on. Rush deadlines are those which follow strict deadlines throughout the project, one time deadlines are those which follow a mutual date for completion of work and phased deadlines are those which follow different deadlines for different phases or sections. Despite these variations, one fact that cannot be denied by anyone is the importance of maintaining deadline. It is one of the most important ways to bring professionalism within your work. Also deadline connects with your reputation. If you fail in completing deadlines most of the time, it creates a wrong impression of yours in front of the client and also affects your future prospects of winning a job. Thus, it is very important to manage deadlines in a professional way to cope up with clients’ satisfaction and work requirement. Managing deadline is as important as maintaining quality work and providing quality production within deadline period is the success mantra for every freelancer. After acknowledging the importance of deadline, the question arises how to manage deadlines in a professional way. This article will discuss important ways through which you can manage deadlines in a professional way.
Managing deadlines in a professional way:
Managing deadlines is very important for a freelancer and managing it in a professional way is even more important. At times you might find the deadline offered very unreasonable and at times you might be having emergency problems and so on. During such situation it is very important to manage your deadlines and handle the situation in a professional way. The below section will guide you with ways adapting which will help you to manage deadlines in a professional manner.
1. Accept reasonable deadlines: Before working professional on managing deadlines, the most important step that needs to be taken ahead of it is accepting reasonable deadlines. Many a times you might face situations where the deadline mentioned is completely unreasonable. As for example: Deadline of completing a work of 45 days within 25 days is completely unrealistic. In such cases, feel free to speak affront to your clients. Try to put forward the reasons why the task needs more time and that the deadline set is not possible to meet. Try to negotiate with the deadline and if your client agrees, commit the work and finish it before deadline but if your client doesn’t agree, just say no. What cannot be done will not be done. Saying no is much better than committing to an unrealistic deadline and then failing to achieve it. Therefore, always make sure that you accept only reasonable deadlines.
2. Deadline conscious: It is very important to realize the importance of deadlines and be conscious and serious about it. Unless and until you are not conscious about your deadline you can never complete your work before deadline. You need to realize that crossing deadlines will not just create a bad impression of yours over the client but also might take away your job. This realization will bring seriousness towards deadlines which on the other hand will keep you deadline focused and thus help you manage deadlines in a professional way.
3. Schedule working hours: It is very important to schedule your freelancing hours to manage deadlines. You might assume that being a freelancer you can work during any hours and complete your task before deadlines but in reality without following strict working hours, it will never be possible. As you will be working from the comfort zone of yours and most probably from your home there might be many distractions that will hamper your working hours. To avoid such problems, schedule proper working hours and follow it strictly to complete a work within deadline. While scheduling your working hours make sure that you are giving enough time daily for your work. If your work demands 6 hours a day, schedule 6 hours of work and if it demands more schedule more hours. It is beneficial to schedule your working hours continuously so that you stay focused with your work.
4. Maintain balance between work and play: It is very important for freelancers to maintain balance between work and play. If you fail in maintaining this balance you might end up facing problems in both the lives. Therefore, schedule proper working hours and do not let your play interfere within it. Also make sure that you do not bring your work life within you playtime. As play entering to work hampers your production, work entering into play creates frustration. To balance between work and play, mention about your work time clearly to your clients. Make the habit of using voice mails to remind your client about your time and at the same time not making them feel left out.
5. Make to do list: Make a list of tasks that you need to complete for your work. This will help you to complete the entire task without leaving bits and pieces here and there. Also do mention your deadline in the list so that you never deviate from the idea of timeline. Make a list of your tasks and after completion of each remember to mark it so in the list. This habit not just helps you to know what tasks are done and what left out but you also get motivated to work and be focused with such lists. Therefore, making to do list is very important for freelancers to manage deadlines.
6. Breaking Projects into sections: Another important task that a freelancer should follow to manage deadlines in a professional way is breaking down projects. When you have larger projects, break it into smaller sections and start finishing one after the other. This helps you to complete fast and also helps you learn the task better. Suppose you get a project of writing SEO based articles. You can divide your work as keyword research, link building, writing content and linking and so on. Such a division not just helps you in managing your deadlines but also helps organizing your task field and thus allows you a better working experience.
7. Set daily targets: As the client will set a deadline to complete a project, you too need to set deadlines for yourself. Try to set daily targets, follow strictly and achieve it regularly. This is the best way of managing deadline. As you will be completing your work daily there is no way your work will be left out. As for example: you get a project of writing 100 articles within 10 days. You can set a target of writing 10 articles per day so that at the end of 10 days you are completed with the project. Thus, setting daily targets help you in achieving your deadlines in a better way.
8. Use time management tools: It is beneficial to use time management tools by freelancers. Time management tools help you better in managing your freelancing time. Also such tools help you track your freelancing hours and make you aware of the required time for a particular task. This not just help you in scheduling your working hours as par deadline but also help you make future commitments to clients regarding time more confidently. There are many time management tools found online and also many desktop gadgets that help you do so. Make use of such time management tools and make your working life better and achieve deadline target easily.
9. Communicate clearly about deadline: Miscommunication regarding deadline might create lots of problems for freelancers. There might be different deadlines for clients and your point of view. Suppose it is the same date but your clients expect you to complete the work before morning while you take the deadline as submitting the work before night. Such confusion might create misunderstanding between you and your client. Therefore, make sure that you communicate with your clients clearly about deadline. Also do mention about your work timings and submission time beforehand to avoid confusion.
These are certain ways through which freelancers can manage deadlines in a professional way. Besides these, it is beneficial to complete a work little before the deadline so that you avoid facing last moment rush. You should organize your work in such a way that you complete your work before deadline and get enough time to cross check the quality before submitting to your clients. Follow these simple methods, organize time and work properly and achieve deadlines in a professional way. Also make sure that you never compromise your quality in order to achieve deadline. Quality and deadline are equally important and go hand in hand and therefore, work to achieve both.