You Want It When?

"I like deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly past." – Douglas Adams

Recently, deadlines seem to be running past me at mach 3 before I remember that they’re looming on the horizon. It can be very easy to lose track of time and forget things that need to be done by a certain date.

However, in the business of being a webmaster resource, providing a service, or updating content, deadlines mean money. Missing a deadline can mean a great deal of cash lost. How can one avoid missing important deadlines, and thereby avoid losing clients?

Simply put, it takes organization, which, admittedly, is not my strong point. So I have had to implement several ways to keep myself in line and on schedule. I’m going to share with you some of my best deadline-making ideas in the hope that you can use at least one of them.

Let’s start out very simply with a white magic eraser board. Mine is a good-sized one, about 4’x 3’ rectangular. I have used electrical tape, (the black super-sticky stuff that electricians use to wrap wires), and made a calendar grid in the upper left hand corner. I use the calendar, (which is just a weekly one, no way I was going to be industrious enough to make a monthly one), to tell me what’s due on what day. For example, if I get a client which requires an article every Friday, then I add that client’s name and the word “article” in the Friday column. Not too hard, is it?

The remainder of the white board is left for important messages and miscellaneous due dates, such as a one-time deal of stories due on such and such day. Not a bad little system, but if it’s the only one you have, you’re in trouble.

Why? Because if you’re relying on something that can easily be brushed up against and erased or marked out, then you’re going to lose important information. Time to back yourself up.

Use your computer to be your personal assistant. There are programs out there which will make your desktop or laptop your personal planner. These really help a great deal, because most of our business is done online through either email or ICQ. Just copy and paste the required information into your datebook program and off you go. Just remember to save your information!

But because computers are not infallible, it’s a good idea to do at least one more backup, and that requires a good old fashioned planner, notepad, or Post-It and a pen. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you’re going to have to lift a pen and actually write something down.

The Post-It notes are one of my favorite forms of self-reminders. If I write it down and then stick it to my monitor, I can’t forget it because I constantly have to see it until I finish the project in question. I then get the great joy of destroying the annoying bit of yellow paper.

Those of you with PDAs can use them exactly like a planner or datebook. That’s what those are made to do, however, they are electronic, and like any other electronic gear, they can easily “forget” for you. Make sure you take the extra step and write the deadline in a notebook or on a Post-It where you will actually see it.

There are many avenues of reminding yourself about deadlines that none of them should pass you by. But just the same, remember to apologize to your client should you miss a deadline and pray that they are understanding. Don’t make a habit of missing deadlines, or you’ll be making a habit of heading to the unemployment office.

Take care of yourselves! ~ Tala

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