How to Set and Meet Business Deadlines Even if You’re Busy
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When you run a business or work for someone else’s business, deadlines are crucial. Businesses often work with clients and customers who expect certain things by certain dates, but when you’re busy it can get very hectic. So, how do you set deadlines and keep everyone happy?
Since I work with deadlines every day (I have 52 posts to write on my schedule for July), I’ve learned a thing or two about keeping clients happy and making sure my deadlines are seamless and don’t stress me out too much.
Don’t get me wrong; I have days where it’s hard for me to get motivated or when I have too many projects due on one day, but I try to follow the rules below as much as possible to keep my business humming along smoothly:
1. Don’t Try to Be The Hero
When I first started working for myself, I agreed to any deadline that a client gave me. I wanted to be so reliable and so great and do anything my clients wanted, but that often meant that I stayed up until 1 or 2 in the morning every morning to get things done.
The same rule applies if your boss wants a certain project due at a certain time. When you first start working, you might want to be known as the person who is extremely reliable and always delivers on time, but I’m going to tell you something important: don’t try to be the hero.
You don’t want to be the abused person at your work who is the only one staying late and working hard. And, if your’e self-employed, you don’t want to overwork yourself and get completely overwhelmed.
You have to let your boss or your clients know when the deadlines they want aren’t realistic. Remind them that you strive for quality and that if you have the proper amount of time to complete your work, the product will be top notch and not rushed.
2. Be Strategic
I mix in harder tasks with easier ones every day, and I find that works best for me. I’ve been doing this for years, even when I was in college, and I think it helps you to feel successful about your day.
When you get smaller tasks done, you can cross them off your list, and when they are balanced with one larger, more difficult task, you can build up momentum to get everything on your list done.
For example, I wouldn’t put three deadlines on the same day for posts that require tons of research and statistics. Instead, I mix in harder work with lighter work to try to avoid burnout.
3. Build in Breaks
If you have a lot of things on your plate, don’t try to jam pack every minute of your day. On the days when I have several deadlines at once, I can get overwhelmed just looking at my list.
When I build in breaks, like actually taking a lunch break, stepping out my office to hug my twins, and taking my dog out for a few minutes, I feel refreshed. I’ll even take breaks sometimes to make my bed, fold some clothes, or watch a YouTube clip of something funny. This is especially important if you don’t have an office and work from your couch, dining room table or bedroom. Wherever your “office” is, you want to make sure you step away from it and give yourself breaks every day to avoid burnout.
You have to break up your day or else your deadlines will seem overwhelming and you’ll start to resent your work.
The best way to meet all your deadlines is to take care of yourself and your clients at the same time. That means not overstuffing your calendar, being realistic, and ensuring your work days have a good mix of tasks and breaks so that everything gets done and your clients stay happy.
How do you ensure you meet all of your business deadlines? What do you do to avoid burnout yet still be effective at the same time? What’s your favorite thing to build in for a break to keep you going?
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