Deadline – it’s a bitch


In every profession there is one big and scary monster looming over your work — deadline. Except genitourinary surgery. Feel free to take your sweet time doing vasectomies and circumcisions. 
Every college student has dreams of their perfect job. It’s all shits and giggles but what they don’t understand is the never-ending struggle to find and keep even the most basic of jobs. “Spare no effort” ideology is everywhere. You start studying and every assignment and project needs to be completed, if not perfectly, then in the best way possible. What this way of thinking lacks is time management.

Don’t forget the deadline. Every student on the planet had less than half of their project done with an hour left until the submission deadline. Suddenly for every student in your class, the teacher’s office is the place to be. One by one pleading more time on the basis of workload, cosmic powers and dead relatives who miraculously come back to life the next day until someone comes out through the door shouting their lungs out; “IT’S POSTPONED”. 
The relief of bathroom break after a pack of beer is nothing compared to those sweet words. After the extension, chaos and panic are forgotten, but that last minute efficiency isn’t. Your typing and writing speed was over 9000, brain was working expeditiously and eyes focused and fixed on the screen. Your time was limited and you had to choose done over perfect. Student life consists mostly of procrastination with flashes of destructiveness. College is just a step towards the real deal.

Yes, please write that down. 
College is not the end!

After graduation, there is still work to be done with deadlines to be met and a little modification with a big weight; responsibilities.

When real life hits you like a freight train, relaxation and lazy mornings are things of the past. Now, responsibilities have chomped away most of your time.

So, let’s talk about NOW
Presumably, you are working, either big or small scale, freelancing or with fixed hours. In all lines of work you will feel the deadline dread as your duty and burden of the work you are doing. In practical life it’s even simpler. After that line you are dead. That doesn’t mean you cease to exist, it’s worse. The quality of your work is not in question, but reliability, dignity and credibility are deeply and irretrievably damaged.

Life is a long road, but the unfortunate reality is that most important events and decisions come in the beginning when you are passionate and energetic, but also inexperienced and impulsive.

That, my friend, is the best time to get on wrong path. So, all we know is that youth and wisdom are a perfect match, but so rarely does that happen. A different and younger me had a set of goals to reach as soon as possible, no matter how I got to them. As my hairline receded I strived for greater things. Honor to value, dignity to fight and trust to stick to in all my dealings with other people.

As a freelancer, I have a huge responsibility to honour commitments I made. Work can be good enough to be seen, but not great enough to be accepted once it has crossed the deadline. If you haven’t done it already, pull out your notebook and write down that necessity is valued until the time it is no longer a necessity and therefore no longer needs to be fulfilled.

Such is the nature of deadlines in freelancing. Many young people are attracted to this field because of the allure of earning big piles of money while sitting in front of their laptops which they are already doing without the benefit of getting paid. This piece of writing is a word of priceless and valuable advice for them.

One always has to value the agreement made with clients. Those who fail to do so are doomed, not only to low reputation and profits, but much more in a broader and greater sense. A freelancer needs to chisel into their thinking process that a one-word commitment means more than a thousand word long apology letter. Client will get assurance that you’ll provide him your work by the time YOU promised and specified. This trust lasts only until the point you let it break. Therefore, it’s all up to you, my friend. Deadlines you set are someone’s parts of the bigger plan. What is a small deadline breach of a designing job for you can be loss of hundreds of potential sales for the client. Let’s build up that trust relationship and make things easier for each other.

Not between you and me, I meant between you and your client.

Quote of the day:

A goal is a dream with a deadline. — Napoleon Hill

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Tom Kozacinski
Tom Kozacinski
I'm a London based product designer, creative entrepreneur, freelancer and advocate of remote work with over 12 years in the industry. I also have 12 years of experience as a stand-up comedian and I love to share my experience.
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