I have never missed any deadline so far in my writing career. I am as timely as they come.
Except the above claims or assertions were to be positive confessions, we need to scrap them because they aren’t true. Did you actually think they were true? (Awww…thanks for your immense faith in me!).
I have missed deadlines so much in the past that my only valid option was to switch off my phone so as to avoid receiving any notifications about pending jobs (guilty as charged). One morning not so long ago, I woke up with a start. I had woken up really late and believe me, all I could do was laugh! It was 5am-not late for most people but since I had so many deadlines to beat, it was super-late. Eventually, I was thankfully able to beat the deadlines.
We all agree on the fact that missing deadlines wouldn’t be great for our reviews, but we can’t just agree alone, we need to tackle this problem heads on!
1. Stop taking on more jobs than you can handle. Stop it!
I guess you probably were expecting to hear something more revelatory, but we have to get the basics right. (If the foundation be faulty, what can the righteous do?)
I know how enticing the money you’d make from those jobs are; I really do, and I also know that for us freelancers if ever given the opportunity, we would take on the jobs of three individuals at once if it equals to more substantial pay!
But I would still sound the note of warning about you taking up so many jobs and then missing most of their deadlines- it does little, if any help to your credibility. Not only are you at risk of being seen as unserious, you also are at a huge risk of churning out substandard work simply because you were no longer working from the perspective of creating something beautiful but rather, from the perspective of meeting your deadline; which is a good disabler of creativity.
So, are you still involved in taking on more work than you can handle? It’s time to stop!
2. Schedule Your Work According To Urgency
While some projects might come in before some others, I have found it wise to deal with my most urgent projects first. Which one required my immediate attention? If I would agree to taking on a very urgent job, it follows that I also must have agreed to clear up my writing space for me to meet up with it. sometimes missing a deadline doesn’t mean you’re someone who doesn’t work well, or who delivers projects to clients late, it sometimes means that you just didn’t adequately schedule your work.
You could work on scheduling your work from most urgent to more urgent to the least urgent. While you have the liberty to work on a project which you would have to deliver in a month’s time at the rate of one hour per day for 2-3 weeks, another more urgent job which you would need to deliver tomorrow or next week has to be given top priority. Don’t leave the urgent to chase the less urgent.
3.Be Open To Your Clients
In the midst of competition, it might be a little difficult to do this but still, hear me out. When getting some jobs, you just have the gut feeling that handling it might take a lot more time than is being given at the onset of the job contract, but you wonder if saying anything to the client about this would yield any positive result. In other words, wouldn’t he just take the job back and hand it over to someone else?
So you choose to be a brave person and take on the job, regardless of the fact that you might not be able to tackle it within that time frame. I have found out that a lot of clients would be happy to re-negotiate if you can explain to them in clear and concise terms, how much time you would be needing, and why. Some of them don’t even know how much work their project entails! Therefore, leaving it up to them to always decide when would be the appropriate time to deliver on a job might not always be the best.
Have you ever gone to a seamstress with an elaborate idea (which you probably thought wasn’t so elaborate) and a relatively unrealistic time frame on the other hand? How did that work out? I wouldn’t be surprised if you told me it ended up being that you had to get that ball gown at a later time than you thought after she ad explained how much stress and time it would take to create your fantasy. Same with whatever project you are working on. Explaining the details to a client, hurts no one but rather, enables everyone to be on the same page.
Sometimes the virtue of patience is one which you have to teach your clients.