One of the reasons many of us started working for ourselves is that we didn’t like having someone tell us what to do all day but that doesn’t mean we still don’t have deadlines. Whether you are preparing for a craft show, working for a manufacturer or have a book due to a publisher we all have deadlines.
And plenty of them when things are going well.
It’s just that it’s better now because they are deadlines that are OUR choice.
So how do you meet deadlines when you have a whole business to run? Not to mention a home or family. Or maybe I should ask…
How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.
Looking at your goal or your project in one big piece can be very overwhelming but it makes it easier if you break it down into smaller pieces.
The trick here is not to look at the WHOLE elephant but rather small bits at a time. Yes, it’s always good to keep the whole goal in your mind but it’s much easier to accomplish if you break the goal down into smaller jobs.
If your goal is to have a line of product in a national chain store you could easily be overwhelmed and find yourself spinning in circles with such a big goal. How will you get there? How can you break that down? Have you created the artwork yet? Have you researched the chain you are hoping to be in to see if you are a good fit, to see what their criteria for new artists is?
List the things you need to do to get to your goal, break those down if you feel overwhelmed, and set a deadline to meet those smaller goals.
Breaking big goals down serves many purposes.
You can see progress. As you tick items off of your checklist you will see progress toward your goal completion. Each check mark is a place to celebrate your accomplishments. Take time to reward yourself for accomplishing the small steps to your goal especially if you made your self imposed deadline.
Stop and enjoy a moment of satisfaction.
Still having trouble?
Just get moving! Sometimes a goal or a calendar full of deadlines can seem so overwhelming that you just can’t get yourself moving. Again, don’t look at that whole elephant and just start somewhere. Once you get moving you will build momentum and that will keep you going. Just keep your head down and keep moving and you will make progress.
Plan ahead. Not only do you have a goal or a deadline but you also have other work and a LIFE. Are there any holidays coming, a meeting or a business trip on the horizon? Planning ahead can leave you feeling empowered and confident when unforeseen roadblocks appear. Also plan to finish your project a day or two ahead of time so that you can let it “rest” before presenting it or turning it in. You’ll feel far more confident turning in a project after you’ve had a night or two to sleep on your finished work.
Get organized. Use your smartphone with a timer, calendar, journal or other apps that will help you track your time. You can even download a countdown type of application that will show you how many days/hours/minutes you have until you need to meet your deadline. Using Google calendar will sync your meetings, mini-goals and deadlines on all of your devices. Create an organized filing system or a designated hard drive to store files or photos used in your project. There is nothing like frantically searching for a file you know you put in a safe place on your computer but just quite can’t remember where. Use technology to help you stay organized.
Be prepared for progress reports. Even if you don’t really have to discuss your progress with someone else just pretending that it might happen could encourage you to keep your smaller deadlines. OR you can partner up with a friend and check in with him or her once in a while just to help keep you on track.
Do you often have deadlines in your creative business? What techniques have you come up with to help you?
By: Vicki O’Dell , The Creative Goddess