How Not to Turn Comfortable Deadline Into a Disaster?

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Time-management is probably among the hottest topics for any freelancer. Tons of posts about productivity and effective time-management are published every week on the Internet.

Today I’d like to discuss a problem of long-term projects with flexible or too comfortable deadlines. Someone may ask me: “Where is the problem? All of us dream of big projects without any rush”. Yes. And no. When you receive something good, you often receive new challenges. I don’t know how about you, but for me it’s been a real problem not to procrastinate and not to put away work for later. When you know that you have plenty of time at hand, you start doing other things or let yourself have more rest than it makes sense. The end is classic: you suddenly realize that time is running out and finish your “flexible” project in a rush.

For myself I found a few ways of preventing this kind of big rush and I have already started implementing them into my daily practice.

Basic plan is to complete 2 easy steps:

Step 1 — calculate your minimal daily output for this project.

When you know the number of working days available, you can calculate how many words per day you must do in order to deliver your work on time. This is your minimum.

Step 2 — do this minimum every single working day.

When I calculate the number of available working days, I discount days which are likely to be busy with other activities (family weekend, birthdays, holidays, etc.). This gives more accurate information about my mandatory daily output and saves me from unexpected rush.

Well, actually now you can stop planning and follow just these 2 steps. This guarantees timely delivery of your project anyway. Alternatively you may choose to translate maximum possible number of words per day (if you have enough time and will-power of course). In this case you overfulfil the norm, finish the project earlier, and get more time for new projects or simple idleness.

Frankly speaking, my nature doesn’t allow me to choose this option, because I don’t like to overload myself if I don’t have to. I accepted this feature of my character, that is why I take the simplest way. I translate required minimum of words and that’s it! If I get more projects during this time, I don’t have to refuse because my working pace is moderate and leaves enough time for other necessary things. On the other hand, if I don’t get other projects in this period, it means that I have more time for my family and myself! For me it is a real advantage.

You know, right now I am working on a marvelous translation project in one of my favorite spheres — fashion. The text is well familiar, deadline is very comfortable, and it brings me a real pleasure to work. However, I still follow my plan: I write down the number of completed segments every day having my finger on the pulse this way.

This is my story and my method of controlling myself. And how do you manage your time when there is a long-term project in progress? Do you have any professional secrets or tips to share? I would be happy to hear.

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