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How to Effectively and Easily Conquer Tight Deadlines and Commitments

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Well, we know the truth, right? Freelancing is fabulous, for the most part, but sometimes it’s frustrating and stressful. On a good day, I’ll leave those conversations feeling pretty cool, but on a bad one, I’ll leave them thinking, “Yeah, it sounds real cool until you think so hard about a job you’ve procrastinated yourself into a corner!” – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: How to Effectively and Easily Conquer Tight Deadlines and Commitments


1
How to Effectively and Easily Conquer Tight
Deadlines and Commitments Hi, Im Lauren, and
Im a freelance copywriter, she said fabulously,
as she handed him a business card, winked
knowingly, and took a sip of her super-fancy
champagne. Ill be honest, sometimes thats how
I feel when I tell a new acquaintance Im a
freelancer. Their eyes get a little wide, they
ask 500 questions about health insurance, and
they finally walk away thinking, Woah, shes
like Indiana Jones! Alright, so Im imagining
them thinking that, but Im not entirely
exaggerating about the wide eyes and the
questions. The freelance life is a mysterious one
to many, and can seem fairly glamorous. The
truth? Well, we know the truth, right?
Freelancing is fabulous, for the most part, but
sometimes its frustrating and stressful. On a
good day, Ill leave those conversations feeling
pretty cool, but on a bad one, Ill leave them
thinking, Yeah, it sounds real cool until you
think so hard about a job youve procrastinated
yourself into a corner! Freelancers carry a lot
of responsibility on their shoulders, and its up
to them, and only them, to make sure they dont
drop that responsibility on someones (or their
own) toes. My goal today is to talk about meeting
deadlines and commitments in a way that keeps
that responsibility at a manageable level from
the get-go.
2
Prepare like a hippie. My parents are a totally
groovy couple of old hippies, and Ive been fed a
steady stream of their self-help literature for
most of my life. I think most of the mantras and
advice Ive heard can be boiled down to this
basic philosophy Be honest, set healthy
boundaries, and be open to the ways of the
universe. I would even recommend that you not
agree on one you can barely meet. Youre in
charge, right? You have the unique opportunity of
being able to set yourself up for success. When
deciding on deadlines, its important to leave
yourself a few days of wiggle room. What if your
computer dies and is stuck in the shop? What if
your pet dies and you cant see the computer
because of all the crying? What if your niece
puts laundry soap in the dishwasher and fills
your entire house full of bubbles? Im betting
that, in any of these scenarios, it would be nice
to have a day to sit back and collect yourself
without the worry of letting down one of your
clients. Set healthy boundaries. Freelancers
arent the only responsible parties in a business
agreement. Especially in creative fields such as
design or content creation, input from the client
is crucial to a successful project. Having to
wait three weeks for a client to say Yeah, I
like that shade of green, or Can we replace my
logo with a photo of my cat? is not only
infuriating, it slows down your project process,
interferes with your overall work timeline,
negatively impacts your other client work
3
so on and so forth. Some freelancers even go so
far as to set feedback deadlines for their
clients and charge fees for the delays. While
this might feel extreme for some, the truth is
that a freelancer juggling many projects can lose
a lot of money on clients who dilly-dally. Includ
ing client deadlines or time limits on feedback
in your onboarding process and in your contracts
can move some of that shouldered responsibility
onto your client. Another thing to consider when
setting deadlines is the time zone in which your
client resides. That could help or hurt you,
depending on where you live. When you set your
deadlines, agree on the time zone that gives you
the most leeway, so that (although the point is
to NOT be scrambling at the end) any last-minute
scrambles can be made slightly less-stressful. Be
open to the universe. In this case, we can
probably leave the universe out of the equation,
but the principle is the same. Youve got to be
as open as possible in your communication with
your client. Dont assume anything. If you think
a portion of the project needs more work, tell
the client and renegotiate a deadline. Become an
expert in damage control. We can talk all day
and night about preparation, but when youre
drowning in a tar pit of deadlines, hearing You
should have set boundaries in your onboarding!
isnt terribly helpful. First of all, youve got
to learn to tackle the hard stuff first.
4
You can do all the deep-breathing exercises and
stress-relief meditations you can find, but the
only thing that will remove your deadlines and
commitments is tending to them. Starting each day
by knocking out a daunting task will leave you
with a feeling of accomplishment antaskd not a
feeling of dread. If you need some help, there
are plenty of task-management apps out there. My
favorite? A totally geeky, totally fun RPG-style
app calledHabitica. Treat yoself. When you get
down to the nitty-gritty crunch-time of tight
deadlines, its sometimes necessary to bring out
the big guns and by big guns I mean rewards.
Chocolate from the fancy section. A copy of your
favorite Hall Oates album on vinyl. A big, fat,
juicy cheeseburger whatever floats your boat. If
youve got something to look forward to, youve
got a better chance of actually making that phone
call/sending that email/ finishing that project
youve been putting off for weeks. Phone a
friend. Sometimes your reputation and pride is
worth more than the pay. If youve run into a
rough patch, it can be helpful to hire a fellow
freelancer to pick up the slack. Theres no shame
in a little friendly outsourcing, and it can
build up highly lucrative relationships between
freelancers. This can be a delicate situation,
though, so its important to hire a trustworthy
freelancer whose work you respect.
5
Reflect, rework, recover. The sweet relief of a
finished deadline is always a fleeting one, and
its okay to relish in that feeling for a little
bit. Go grab a high-five from someone, schedule a
margarita night, or binge on five episodes of
your favorite show but dont get too crazy (or
lazy). The fact of the matter is that a
successful freelancer is a working freelancer,
and you dont ever want to run out of deadlines
and commitments. If you constantly find yourself
scrambling to finish those tight deadlines or
fending off freelancing nightmares, its pretty
obvious that you need to make some
changes. After your deadline freedom
celebration, give yourself the gift of scheduled
reflection time. Whether its monthly, bi-weekly,
or even weekly, a chance to look over your habits
and calendar will give you insight into the
effectiveness of your process, and provide
regular opportunities to improve. Sure, its
important to be able to work under pressure. The
point, however, is not to make it a regular
practice. With thoughtful preparation and a
backup plan for emergencies, youll be able to
significantly lessen that pressure for future
projects. Article Source  https//www.approveme.
com/freelancing/effectively-conquer-tight-deadline
s-and-commitments/
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