Saturday, 21 January 2017

Just the tip: Deadlines

Deadlines, anybody in the creative field will know of them but it seems that for the less experienced they are a daunting weight to uphold.


Not sure what this crap is from, but it's got that sexy slogan
It seems like most people manage to meet deadlines but not all people manage to get there so easily—it's not an uncommon story to hear people working all night the day before to make changes that they don't even remotely support. As I understand them, deadlines are both to be flexible and solid; you must have a final end point but they must be able to bend, to flex, to harmonise along with any changes.

Deadlines are kind of like those bamboo canes every Grandmother has next to her tomatoes. If you are to lay that cane flat you have two obvious end points—a clear start on the left and a finishing point on the right. Without you cutting it down, the cane clearly displays a straight line from start to finish, but with some applied pressure at either end you'll get a little give; a slight bend. The bending of the cane is the changes you'll reach through the project, it's still the same length as before but it's not as direct, meaning you'll need to be flexible to follow the new curves of the project and reach that end point.

Cane analogy over, let's start with some tips because my writing style is about as subtle as post-bender elephants on Parquet flooring.

Tip 1: Organ eyes see those who Organise
So clearly the title is a bit of a piss around; what even are Organ Eyes?
But it's important to organise if you want to be on time with anything, specifically work with a tight deadline—if you can't even find your latest version of that .psd, you're doing something wrong.
Folder structure, version numbers, colour highlighting and sketchbook archiving are all obvious way to keep yourself in control, steering towards that sexy fat cheque baby!

Tip 2: Set up is very important
Often it's said that you can tell how well a project will go from it's first meeting, and although that seems a little pessimistic; first impressions both count and cost. At the start, there are many things you should do, but it's more important that you know what you shouldn't do, here's a quick run down:

  • Do not set prices straight away
  • Do not promise timescales until you know the whole job
  • Do not start without a contract
  • Do not lie about your talents (deadlines are hard enough)

Tip 3: Chip away at it
Don't just look at your work and say, well this could take a month so I'll set the deadline to March 5th—add note to my calendar that it needs to be completed by that date, break it down and chip away at it. Make a range of tasks that add together to completely finish the project.
Initial ideas (4 days) – First draft (3 days) – Feedback (1 day) etc. etc. etc.

My teenage years in a GIF

Tip 4: Know that your end, might not be the end
Once you've sent over that zip file and pleasant invoice asking for your rightful money, it'd seem like you've finished the project, you've met the deadline and you've reached the end. But your end might not the the end end. If it's a print project, it's still got to be printed and you'd be a small fool to think that your client wouldn't want your help overseeing that, if it's a web project it might need fixes, different sizes and every other varient you could ever think of—though for these things, you can totally charge more. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ **money money** $$$

Tip 5: Don't be stingy with time
If you've got the freedom to set a longer deadline, then do it. Perhaps the work might only take you a day, but if you've got the freedom of that whole week take it; it's strange how different things will look when you've had a day or two to ponder over them.

You don't need to be unfaithful and over-charge for time you haven't spent working, but at least you had the freedom to make mistake, the freedom to change and the time to be wrong.

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