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freelancer missing deadlines - anyone else guilty?

(5 Posts)
griselda101 Tue 19-May-15 21:55:39

i feel awful when I miss a deadline but I am a lone parent to a toddler and sometimes really struggle to keep up with everything. Sometimes my work gets really hectic.

sometimes I can miss a deadline by a couple of weeks! Most of the time it's just a few days. On other things I am always on top and great at keeping up straight away. I just find it difficult to do things in priority order (I am a creative professional and need the right headspace for certain projects, so often procrastinate to do the easy stuff instead).

That said if I am given a solid deadline I am usually pretty good at reaching it, it more tends to be my own deadlines that I fail to reach (e.g. tell client I will have something with them by X, then tell them several times over a few days that I am running a bit late).

I hope they will be understanding and generally they are but I still feel really bad about it. I usually explain that I am under a lot of pressure as a lone parent of a toddler and they seem to be ok. That doesn't change the sense of guilt I get about it! And the stress.

I wonder how much other professionals are like this and whether I'm not really that bad in comparison to others.

I know it looks unprofessional to miss deadlines but it's sometimes unavoidable for me due to my lone parenting and limited childcare status with a full on workload. I try to manage expectations at the beginning of a project but I am in the line of work where everyone wants everything ASAP, it's a very deadline driven role. I'm often up late into the night and work through the weekend but still never get on top of stuff.

Anyone else miss deadlines?? Please tell me I am not the only one...!!

MrsMargoLeadbetter Tue 19-May-15 22:48:22

Who sets your deadline? I know clients can push for earlier than you want....can you push back?

Are you allowing enough time? If not, then can you set more realistic deadlines? Do you allow for the thinking/headspace time?

I have recently started to try to plan my workload better and I am feeling better for it.

I have missed some deadlines but I have generally anticipated it and ask for an extension.

If I may say your current way of working doesn't really sound like it is working for you or your clients. What can you change? It must be very stressful.thanks

MissTriggs Wed 20-May-15 13:21:47

You are not the only one but it's not ideal. What can you do to change it?

griselda101 Wed 20-May-15 23:34:38

thanks miss and mrs for replies smile

i think i need to plan a bit better. i'm constantly improving but I think it's a case of just needing to do what i don't want to do when it needs doing even if I am strongly resistant. maybe use a timer for some short bursts of productivity. starting is often the hardest thing.

I take solace in the fact that my 2.5 year old is getting easier all the time. I can't imagine any working LP finds it easy with a toddler about as well.

I think I'm harder on myself than I need to be and I need to give myself more credit for what I do achieve which is a lot more than many. Some deadlines may whizz by but in the scheme of things I am still achieving a lot and I haven't lost any clients over it.

I guess my action plan should be

1) warn clients in advance about my situation and ask them to be understanding re. deadlines
2) be more realistic when setting return dates
3) work in small chunks on projects I don't want to do, to get in the habit of just starting
4) find more work that I do want to do, easy money, rather than accepting work I keep putting off because it's hard or boring
5) go easier on myself!
6) put my rates up for the horrible projects so I have more free time or at least more ££ to make the depressing work more worth my while... ;)

KiwiJude Mon 01-Jun-15 21:24:06

For me missing a deadline just isn't an option, all the work I do is deadline driven and if I started missing deadlines I wouldn't have any repeat clients. I always build a buffer into any deadline I set, which is lucky as one of my contractors left me in the lurch big time on Friday but I managed to pull it together over the weekend and meet the deadline with not too much stress once I'd got over the initial omigosh reaction and had taken a bit of time out to figure out a plan of attack.

In your action plan 2 should be 1. If you do this then you don't need to do current 1 and when you're meeting deadlines you won't need 5 either.

I find 3 works for me, it's like an elephant sandwich so just nibble away at it bit by bit. I don't have set working hours as such because of the fluctuating nature of my workload but do try to get into a routine where I'm keeping regular core hours and will slot bits of horrible jobs in between nice ones.

If you can do 4 to the point where you don't have to take on the horrible projects then also do 6; if they really want you to do the project they'll pay the extra otherwise they'll look elsewhere. That way you're not actually telling them no and you get a bit of cream, but make sure you aren't sacrificing the time you could spend on work you like to do. It works for me, with horrid audio I slap a surcharge on my hourly rate although no one has ever said no yet! grin

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