A Harvard Business Review in 2020 on Creativity under the Sun talks about the impact of pressure on the work rate of creatives. The article further suggests that when creativity is under the gun, it ends up getting killed. In every case, this is true but in today’s world, there are a lot of creative jobs to be done with little or less time and period. In the 21st-century creative world, it is usual to see creatives struggling to keep up with multiple projects, needing clients and a huge workload, or even feedback on completed jobs.
As a creative, you understand that inspiration often strikes at unexpected times. Unfortunately, this can also mean that deadlines can sneak up on you quickly. Whether you’re a writer, graphic designer, or musician, managing your time is crucial to delivering high-quality work on time.
In this article, we’ll explore five ways that you can manage your time as a creative to meet deadlines without sacrificing quality.
Why Meeting Deadlines is Important
Just like the Harvard article mentioned, deadlines are injurious to creativity. But on the other hand, think of what type of work environment we will be operating in without deadlines. Think of deadlines as the time frame in which work is expected to be completed. It only becomes a deadline when this period is not managed effectively.
Here are the main benefits of meeting deadlines:
1. Increased productivity: Meeting deadlines help you stay focused and motivated, which can increase your productivity levels.
2. Improved time management skills: By meeting deadlines, you learn to manage your time more effectively and prioritize tasks to meet your goals.
3. Reduced stress: When you meet deadlines, you avoid the stress and anxiety that come with last-minute rushes to complete tasks.
4. Increased accountability: Meeting deadlines demonstrates your accountability to colleagues, clients, and stakeholders.
5. Enhanced reputation: Consistently meeting deadlines can enhance your reputation as a reliable and trustworthy individual or organization.
5 Ways to Manage Your Time and Meet Deadlines
1. Break Projects into Smaller Tasks
When you are working on a large project, trying to finish it all at once might be very challenging. Instead, break the project down into smaller, more manageable tasks. This will help you focus on the immediate task at hand without feeling overwhelmed. An example of this is breaking your writing gigs into smaller sections. Use a project management tool like Trello or Asana to keep track of your progress and deadlines.
2. Schedule Your Time Wisely
As a creative, it is not unusual to work on your own schedule. However, in cases where you have to meet deadlines, it’s important to adjust your schedule and stick to it. Be sure to schedule time for breaks and rest, as well as time to work on your project. As a photographer, creating a schedule for studio shoot sessions, editing sessions, and also feedback sessions will help keep you accountable.
3. Minimize Distractions
Distractions are part of the daily operations of creatives. Whether it’s social media, your favourite football club match, or even the latest Netflix series, it’s easy to get sidetracked. To stay focused and meet your deadline, eliminate distractions as much as possible. Turn off your phone, close unnecessary tabs on your computer, and consider using noise-canceling headphones to block out background noise.
4. Prioritize Self-Care
One of the most talked about topics in recent years is self-care. As a creative, even though it’s important to produce new work and gain recognition, it is, however, important to prioritize self-care to avoid burnout. Gustavo Razetti in an article for Forbes suggests that mental exhaustion puts out all creative spark and makes problems impossible to solve. For creativity to thrive, there must be energy, peace of mind, and a calm perspective. When these are absent, there is an absence of motivation and productivity.
Managing your time as a creative can be a challenge, but it’s essential to meeting deadlines and producing high-quality work. By breaking projects into smaller tasks, scheduling your time wisely, minimizing distractions, prioritizing self-care, and allowing time for revisions, you can effectively manage your time and deliver your best work on time.