Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Deadlines and the end of the month

The end of the month is looming, and it seems deadlines are on everyone's mind. Harmony posted on Sunday about what she needed to do before the month ended, and Kristen King posted Monday about a blown deadline (and how upset she was about it). I have comments about both posts, and they (my comments) seemed kind of related, so I decided to talk about both tonight.

Not too long ago, I blogged about getting burned out. Then, more recently, I mentioned that I was starting to feel more like my old self. Unfortunately, that feeling comes and goes; I'm still struggling somewhat, so I have a backlog of work that I feel like I'll never be free of.

I have a confession to make, one that I suspect will make a whole bunch of guilty freelancers feel a little better: I miss deadlines. Not always - like I mentioned in a previous post, I tend to miss a deadline or two when I get burned out, which usually follows a period of insane amounts of work. Not all deadlines, thankfully - my brain seems to know the difference between deadlines for print publications (that have to go to the printer by a certain date), and deadlines for online venues (which are more flexible).

I mention this in response to Kristen's post, because she was clearly very freaked out about missing a deadline. The truth is, I haven't found missing a deadline here and there to be a major problem in my career (although, like I said, I have yet to miss any truly crucial deadlines). Most of my clients are wonderfully understanding and forgiving. They understand when I explain that I'm not feeling well, or that I'm running behind for some other reason.

There are three lessons to learn from this:

1) Don't miss deadlines when you can avoid it.
2) Don't worry about it too much when you can't.
3) Appreciate the clients that understand when you can't.

In response to Harmony's post... I have roughly 14 articles that I'd like to finish by the end of the week (not by the end of the month, thankfully!), as well as several (paid) blog posts. With a little luck, my productivity will hold and I'll accomplish all I set out to do...

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