All freelancers know the golden rule – want to keep clients, deliver on deadline. Easier said than done, that. Sometimes it works out and at other times it doesn’t. Why? Read our 20 tips to know why and how to beat it.
1. Keep Your Deadlines Realistic
If your deadlines are not achievable within the set timeframe, you will falter. Be accurate in your task effort estimation and leave a good margin while setting deadlines.
2. Be Serious About Your Deadlines
You have to get down to work immediately. Leaving things too late will make a mess of things. Take your deadlines seriously right from the start of the project and you’ll finish with time to spare.
3. Make Sure You And The Client Are On The Same Page
Make sure that your client knows what to expect and when. Maintain an online project schedule worksheet for common access. Keeping the client on the same page will motivate you to meet your deadlines on time.
4. Set Up A Reward Program For Yourself
When you’ve achieved a certain deadline, make sure you reward yourself. This could be some time off, or a movie you’ve been dying to watch – whatever makes you tick.
5. Prioritize Your Projects
Go over all your pending projects. Do you need to spend more time researching for some? Will some of them require additional cross-checking? Are some of the clients impatient? Prioritize your projects accordingly.
6. Say No If You’re Overloaded
Sometimes a client can expect a miracle overnight. If you’re already overloaded, say No strongly and mean it. Don’t take on a rush job unless you’re being paid extra and are able to shuffle other things around.
7. Maintain Open Communication
If you’re not able to complete a milestone, make sure your client knows the reasons for the delay. In this way, you can avoid the anxious phone calls and the other stresses that will prevent you from achieving your deadline.
8. Keep Client DISTRACTIONS AT Bay
Don’t keep your Gtalk or Skype on all the time. This will only give your client the chance to ping you repeatedly for status. Check your email at scheduled intervals and request your client to avoid phoning you.
9. Identify Your Best Creative Hours
Creativity blocks happen to the best of us. Identify which parts of the day or night you work best. If a block occurs even during your best hours, switch off, do something else and then get back to work.
10. Don’t Pile Up
When it comes to a long term project, the adrenaline doesn’t flow as often. It’s tempting to put off the project until later. Resist this; other projects will be lining up and before you know it, you will be straitlaced for time.
11. Set Down Goals
Setting a number-based monthly goal will keep you from accepting too much work, or taking up too little when you’re in the mood to relax. A specific number will help you screen projects for the right rate too.
12. Don’t Waste Time On Great Work
Don’t waste time overanalyzing, over-critiquing and over-reviewing it. It’s good to be detail-oriented and accurate, but trying to be a perfectionist each time means time wasted.
13. Stick To Standards
Create a set of standards for your work, along with tasks lists and review checklists. As each task is completed, check it and move on to the next. Don’t add new features to your work at the last minute.
14. Allocate Tasks To Certain Timelines
Set a timeline for checking email, browsing social networks and similar tasks. Don’t allow these tasks to intrude on your work tasks once you’ve sat down to work.
15. Estimate Your Effort
When you get a project, estimate the number of hours you can put in a day. Subtract one hour from that, to allow for errors and rework. Knowing your daily limits will help you with project estimation and timelines as well.
16. Go Easy On Yourself
Mistakes happen. Apologize, clean it up and be more careful. However, if you fall into the guilt and self-flagellation trap, your stresses will mount and you will slip your deadlines.
17. Break Down Large Projects
Break down your projects into various tasks, and then sub-tasks. Make sure you check off your daily scheduled tasks each day. You can reduce review time and show a good amount of completed work, besides.
18. Give Yourself Breaks
Pencil in breaks and holidays into your monthly and weekly schedules. It’s necessary to do this. Don’t over schedule yourself and then miss a deadline because you’re dried out.
19. Set Reminders And Notes
Set up reminders for minor and major milestones. You should know of an upcoming deadline several days in advance, so that there’s no chance you’ll miss it.
20. Ask For Help
If you’re that badly stuck for time, it’s perfectly all right to ping someone in your network for help. You can always return the favor later on.
This article is contributed by website optimization Company Invesp.