Remote work has always had a “romantic” reputation. Get up, put on a pot of coffee, check emails, look at the day’s tasks, and plan what and how that “what” will get finished. The additional “romance” of remote work is its flexibility of work hours.
But remote work is not all a bed of roses. When work is taken on, it must be perfectly completed, and deadlines must be met. If these two things don’t happen, the remote worker goes under.
Lots of newly remote workers struggle with how to meet deadlines. In the interest of helping you, let’s unpack some strategies that will keep you on track.
1. Get the Right Tools
From time management to calendaring details of project tasks, there is a wealth of software out there to help. Using these programs, workers can break down all of their projects into smaller chunks of work, place them on master calendars, and reduce daily work output needs.
The key is using these tools effectively. And some will not want to use them at all. There are still remote workers who have massive paper calendars on their office walls, post-it notes splattered around, and are still committed to a manual process. And for many of them, it works.
Find the right tools for yourself, whether digital or manual. Nothing is worse than waking up in the middle of the night realizing that you have an unmet deadline in the morning.
2. Identify Your Procrastination Triggers
You know what these are – several social media platforms, news outlets, online shopping, looking up gourmet recipes, and more. Your best friend stops by, and you take a “break” that lasts way too long. And one of the biggest “lies” we tell ourselves is that we have plenty of time to get this project done, so we can take some time off right now.
Consequences of procrastination are not good. You put yourself up against a wall at the end and have to rush through a project. When you rush, mistakes are made, and your client does not get your best work. Over time, your reputation suffers.
How do you fix this? It’s simple but not easy. Get a tool that will block you from other internet spaces while you work; turn off your phone; establish a workday that friends do not violate. It’s not that you have no flexibility. Just have a schedule that you keep as best you can.
3. Do Your Research Early On
Remote freelancers work within areas of special knowledge and expertise. But there are times when a project will require research/data gathering to reinforce content, recommendations, etc. Be certain that the research data you use is the most current and is from reputable sources. Get it done early, so you are not scrambling to find some piece of data in the middle of your project.
4. You Are Running a Business
You are operating a business. You must have operational procedures as you take on a client. These include a detailed contract that outlines exactly what is to be produced and when it is to be produced. When these details are nailed down, you can break the project down and figure out how to meet deadlines. And always keep your client updated, best with a short online meeting.
These Four Plus One
These strategies for how to meet deadlines are simple common sense. They are easy to implement but require self-control. There is one more “rule,” though. Be very careful about the amount of work you take on at any one time. It’s hard to say “no,” but it’s much harder to explain why a deadline has been missed. Know your limits.