UGH, deadlines! They are SO easy to revile.
Work deadlines keep me chained to the computer when I’d rather be off on a bike ride, or reading a favorite novel, playing Pickle-ball with friends, heck, even cleaning the bathrooms. (Deadlines can make any activity inviting.)
But I’ll be the first to admit it. Without deadlines I’d be lost, poorer than poor, forced to clean houses or resume employment at Burger King. (Long time ago; don’t ask.)
Now I’m learning that clients need deadlines too. Otherwise, they become slacker clients, just like me. (Read my slacker client confession in this week’s Cape Cod Times.)
Dina Lyons, a print and web graphic designer in Centerville, Mass., recommends deadlines to keep clients on-time and on-task. “Deadlines serve the purpose of organizing everyone’s schedules,” she says. And when clients have specific deadlines, their projects are far more successful.
Having learned the pitfalls of “deadline-less” projects, Lyons now communicates more clearly with clients about her deadline limitations and how it could affect their project.
For instance: “‘Dear client, here is your latest round of proofs. Would it be possible for you to give me feedback within the week, as I am facing a busy schedule in 2-3 weeks?’”
This has worked wonders, Lyons says.
In the future, rather than take on a deadline-less project, Lyons may build in a schedule upfront, then use pricing to enforce it, charging extra when a client fails to meet the schedule.
“How am I supposed to organize my workweek if the clients don’t cooperate?” she asks, adding: “That is the crux of the issue, isn’t it?”
Like I said: Deadlines – you gotta love ’em.