What's Your Hurry? Do Copy Deadlines Matter? 7 Reasons they do!
Deadlines. I've thought a lot about them this week because I had a lot of deadlines to hit for clients. Deadlines that dropped into my lap out of nowhere, like a big shooting star of stress. Long hours staring at my screen writing copy. Edits. Proofreading. More content...less sleep.
Sometimes you have a deadline planned well in advance. Sometimes it's an emergency where a client needs something rushed.
Either way, you've got a bottom line of when you need to have something completed.
I've heard some interesting ideas on deadlines recently. Some believe deadlines are detrimental, that they cause resentment between colleagues. Some say it kills creativity and motivation. Others say it creates undue stress in your work environment.
I say you might want to readjust your stance on deadlines.
Deadlines aren't a detriment. They're a benefit.
How can a deadline benefit you?
Here are 7 reasons it pays to hit your deadlines.
1. It Demonstrates Dependability & Professionalism
When you deliver on time, whether or a product, or in my case copy content, you gain a reputation. A reputation for being reliable and dependable. This helps you and your business. It increases consumer trust and helps you to build a repeat customer base. Your customers know they can count on you. They'll tell others. You'll get referrals, which means building your business.
Meeting deadlines also shows you respect for your own work and the time others put into the project. If one team member fails to meet their deadline in a project, it can create a domino effect. It causes colleagues or collaborators to miss their own deadlines. Or they end up doing extra work to make up for someone else.
2. Fewer Costs
Missed deadlines can hurt your finances and budgets. They can cause you to lose customers or force you to pay extra for something like rush shipping or printing. Meeting deadlines ensures you stay on budget for projects. That savings can add up over time. missing deadlines can cause a lot of unnecessary consequences. Think about thee last time you missed a deadline. Did you lose a sales contract? Maybe you missed an opportunity for a potential deal. Too many missed deadlines will hurt your bottom line.
3. You Learn Time Management
Missed deadlines are usually a sign of poor time management. Don't feel bad on this, because you're not alone. Time management is a HUGE issue for entrepreneurs (myself included). But you need to be honest about it. If this is the case in your small business, there are ways to help you learn effective ways to help you. One solution I found is the T.I.M.E. BOMB course offered by SB PACE (shameless plug for them). I took their free assessment and realized I needed more help than I thought. There's no shame in realizing you need to improve in areas. The problem comes when you don't do anything to fix it.
Time is limited and valuable. There are many ways to spend it. Set priorities. Decide what's most likely to produce the most benefit, then focus on those tasks.
4. They Make You Set Goals and Motivate You To Achieve Them.
Setting a date for completing a task can motivate you to get it done on time. If no deadline is set, there might not be an incentive for you to finish it. Extended projects keep you from scaling your business. It also leads to fewer customers, and boredom on your end.
5. They help you keep your promises
Setting deadlines and sticking to them can help you avoid making promises you can't keep. When you have a clear deadline, its easier to decide which activities you have time for and which ones you don't. This also helps you to decide whether you should take on extra tasks and activities.
6. They prevent you from overthinking things
Setting deadlines help you avoid over-analyzing every detail of your work. How much time do you spend thinking instead of DOING? Setting a deadline can help you find a balance between the two.
7. They can boost your confidence
Think about how you felt after completing a huge project on time. If you were like me, you breathed a sigh of relief, said, "Sheral (insert your name here instead of mine) you're a rock star", and rewarded yourself. You also reinforced mentally that you CAN deliver quality products in a timely fashion. You'll remember what it took on your next project as well. Hitting deadlines increases your self-confidence and morale.
How Can You Hit Your Deadlines?
So how can you help yourself hit those deadlines?
Set a realistic timeframe
Don't set yourself up to fail. Setting unrealistic timeframes to finish projects is a sure path to failure. On the flip side, giving yourself too much time can make you lose focus and downplay the task's importance. Finding the right balance between the two is essential. Be realistic.
Don't have too many deadlines
This should be common sense. If you put too much on your plate, something will fall off and hit the floor. Be honest about how long a project takes, and only take on those things you know you have the time for. Your customers will respect you more for telling them you are fully booked.
Make a commitment and announce it
Make a commitment to the goal and the deadline through an announcement. If you tell a lot of people to look for a launch of a project or the release of a book on a certain date, you're going to have to hit it. You're going to be more motivated to complete it according to the deadline so you don't get judged.
Break each deadline down and set mini goals
Think ahead. Make a clear process from Day 1 with mini goal. Even for the smallest task/goal.
Look at the project at hand. In my case, it was "complete all website copy by Tuesday." Now break it down into smaller parts and goals. Do 3-4 things in each mini-goal.
Take a small break after each task...10-15 minutes. Walk outside, get another cup of coffee. That mental break will help you reset so you can tackle the next mini-project.
Breaking it down keeps you from feeling overwhelmed.
In every situation and project, COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS! If you've got an issue that might make it difficult to hit a deadline, tell the people who it will affect.
This helps everyone take steps needed to fix the situation. Sometimes you can get extra time. Sometimes someone will jump in and take some of the work from you. No matter what, it's better than hiding problems, or keeping silent until you miss a deadline. That sends a message that you can't be trusted to get the job done. It sends a message that you don't care about colleagues or clients. And those messages will end up hurting you and your business.
Learn from your mistakes
If for some reason you didn’t meet a deadline, think about what happened. What didn’t work? How you can prevent it from happening again?
If you get a second chance on a project, be responsible and don’t repeat the same mistakes again. You may not get another chance to again.
Deadlines aren't the 'bad guys' in business. They're what keeps it moving forward and growing. Treat them as your friends, and watch your success soar.
But treat them as the enemy, and that's what they will become.
Personally, I can always use more friends to help me along the way.
Sheral~ Owner/Founder C3 Specialties