Even though I work in the field of finance, I’m mostly a creative. This means I have the same struggles most creatives do when it comes managing multiple deadlines and their work. These struggles include a lack of creativity at times, no motivation or preferring to work on our own projects than a client project. Not to mention, managing the finances which is something all of us creatives must learn how to do at some point.
I often say that running a business requires you to balance both sides the brain. You need to creative aspect, but you also need the analytical side. It’s by learning to balance the two that you can create a killer business over time.
That being said, here is how creatives can manage having multiple deadlines. The tips I’m about to share are not gospel, nor are they written in any specific order. Instead, I want you to see these tips as different strategies you can try depending on the situation.
Take it one deadline at a time.
When I’m working with multiple deadlines, I find the easiest path is to just focus on one deadline at a time. In other words, instead of worrying about what to do when, just use your deadlines to dictate your to do list.For example, I have multiple deadlines for one client in addition to deadlines for other clients. I map out the deadlines on my calendar so I know what’s coming up. From there, I focus on one project at a time based on the closest deadline.
Focus on what brings you joy.
Sometimes the above advice doesn’t work. As creatives, we sometimes need to feel inspired in order to create. I find that in those instances it can be helpful to first work on something that brings you joy and then focus on the other tasks at hand.For example, I love writing for my own blog because I have more freedom. When I feel like there’s something I need to get off my chest, that’s where I go. It’s also where I go whenever I’m feeling really stuck on client work. I find that working on what I love unlocks a lot of the creative juices that may not be flowing at that time.
Start saying no to stuff.
There will come a time in your business when the only way to manage multiple deadlines is to start saying no. For example, I’ve been invited to three events in the last few days. Only one of them is actually worth my time so I’m declining the others.
I do the same with projects. Sometimes I have projects come my way that simply aren’t worth the time or money. The key is to start saying no to these projects early on. The last thing you want to do is get in the bad habit of being overworked and underpaid.
These are the three best strategies I find to be effective in managing multiple deadlines for clients. The last one especially helps because you aren’t overloading yourself to begin with. Give these a try and see whether or not they help you.