3 Tips for Meeting Tight Deadlines

Yesterday was typical. I checked my Google Calendar, dove into the first writing assignment on my agenda and checked email.

Are you successfully juggling your freelance deadlines?
Are you successfully juggling your freelance deadlines? Photo Credit: Flickr

One message in my inbox made me rearrange the rest of my week.

A favorite client had to let a writer go and asked if I could pick up the slack. Sure. The kick? I had to have the work done in less than two days. Yikes!

My calendar is full.

I plan each week diligently to keep the income flowing. And, now I’ve been thrown a curve ball. But you know what? I’m fine. I just put on my clown hat and juggle. You can too — with a little planning and flexibility.

1. Leave Gaps in Your Schedule

Prepare for the unexpected. I often leave a few unscheduled gaps in my work day to account for rewrite requests, unexpected calls or to get caught up from a bad case of writer’s block.

If nothing unplanned comes up during the day, I fill those pockets of time with things on my extended To Do list like working on social media marketing strategies, networking with potential clients, reading my favorite writing-related blogs or updating one of my personal blogs.

2. Work Ahead on Projects

If you just don’t have room for any gaps in your schedule, get into the habit of working ahead. Whenever possible I try not to work on projects due the same day. I like to write, let the words sit, then revisit them with fresh eyes the next day.

If I’m able to work on projects several days ahead, I can easily push them to another day if a last minute assignment surfaces. This flexibility reduces the stress of tight deadlines and earns me bonus points by finishing projects quickly.

3. Keep an Open Mind

It’s easy to say “No.” when you feel like you’re already too busy. But by tackling last minute projects with an open mind and positive attitude, I’ve opened the door to taking on more assignments. That means more business for me!

Any time you can say “Yes!” to helping out a client — do it. It moves you to the top of the list next time they need a writer for a project since you’ve earned the reputation of being dependable and hardworking.

How do you juggle last minute projects and edit requests? I’d love to learn even more tactics to keep clients happy and business moving forward. Please share you ideas in the comments below.


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