Falling behind on your projects

Office Space TPS reportsMaybe I should have titled this, falling behind on “my” projects, since that’s  where I’ m coming from anyways. Recently I’ve moved my family from Connecticut back to Florida. Orlando Florida is now the new home of Design Theory. Though that’s my main excuse for falling behind on my projects, it still remains just that; an excuse.

When times are good as a freelancer, your phone is ringing every other day with a new potential client. Some calls may be just for price quotes, while others may be for proposed work that needs to be done yesterday. (I’m not even getting into that).  We all like to sign new deals, and get that first deposit to get started on a fresh new project. It’s a new chance to be more creative, use new skill sets, photoshop brushes, whatever. It’s exciting talking to this new client and getting to know them and providing feedback on what they want. But how do you feel when it’s 3 months later and things haven’t really progressed as much?

You’ve got 35% of the project done or started and getting more information from your client is like pulling teeth. Or you have four or more projects that have all exceeded your projected time of delivery and they’re all needing to be done.  Or you’re chasing after clients for final payments and just making those phone calls to collect is daunting enough not to want to do it at all. All of these excuses have a negative effect on your job performance.

So what do you do about it? Well there are already a bunch of lists out there from many well-known authors like David Allen or Mark Forster, or Timothy Ferriss to name a few.  One thing that has worked for me is to start each day off with doing the least project or task that I truly want to do. You know that boring one or the one that really is outside of your comfort zone. Once that’s out of the way, I personally feel better about myself and more accomplished. It also makes my remaining tasks so much easier to complete.

There really aren’t too many good excuses for falling behind. Especially when you’re contractually obligated to a project for your clients. They have deadlines and expectations too. Thinking about the big picture outside of yourself is necessary to being a great freelancer and it also gains respect. If you have any tips on how to keep from falling behind please be sure to share in the comments below.