Moving Parts: Deadlines

A couple of weeks ago, I asked my wife to come up with a topic for the blog; and as always, she pulled through! She mentioned talking about all the different elements that go into a project from start to finish, and I thought that was brilliant. So, for today and possibly a few more posts, down the road, let's talk about some of these Moving Parts. You can read about Project Management here.

Meeting Deadlines

After figuring out how to keep up with several projects, one of the next moving parts is meeting deadlines. Understand, I am skipping over several other parts (pre-production, client meetings, etc), but in the end, I think hitting deadlines is as important as any other part of the process.

Personally, I hate missing deadlines. I have missed them, and unfortunately, I do miss them…but I hate it. As a creative, whether in the freelance market or in-house, we must be able to set deadlines and meet them. Not only does it establish credibility with our clients/co-workers, but it also allows us to stay on pace when working with several different projects at once.

As part of my project management process, I use Asana and Omnifocus as a master project calendar. With each milestone event in the project, I will set deadlines. For my own sanity, I will also set the deadline a few days before the actual deadline. If a client wants something on Monday, I will set the deadline to be the Thursday or Friday before. This just helps me get away from totally procrastinating, and also gives me room for adjustments when unforeseen events arise.

One other thing I will do with deadlines is create my own, even when the client/co-worker says, “Whenever you get a chance.” These open-ended deadlines are treacherous for creatives. “Whenever you get a chance,” may as well be, “Don’t work on it until I come back to you asking for it by 3pm.” To avoid these situations, I will create a target goal (sooner than I truly expect them to need it), and will do my best to hit this deadline every time. Often, if I miss these deadlines, it is because I am still waiting for vital information needed to finish the project.

Deadlines are often the things we think of at the end of a project, but in my opinion, they should be one of the first things we should think about. Create milestones and deadlines for yourself. Not only will it allow you to work within your project management scope, but it will help you keep in great relations with your clients and co-workers. 

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