In an ever-accelerating world, being on time is quickly becoming somewhat of a novelty, rather than common practice. We are always quick to apologise for being late, and we always have excuses, but eventually this will only serve to damage your personal and professional reputation. Surely there’s a better way?

Rather than be known for missing meetings and not submitting work on time, include the following advice in your day-to-day life to make sure you’re punctual.

  • 1)Honesty is the Best Policy

From the first moment you meet with a client, you need to be completely honest: how long will this work realistically take? Factor in other commitments and extra time to edit and proof for better accuracy. If it looks like you’ll miss the deadline, it’s best to inform the client sooner rather than later. Reassure them and only ask for the extra time you actually need. The key is to remember to always manage expectations.

  • 2)Buy a calendar

It seems so simple because it is. Add deadlines, meetings and important dates to your calendar and keep it in sight. If you’re mobile a lot, consider making the most out of your phone’s synchronised calendar – and the reminder function.

  • 3)Drop the beat… Break it down

You’ve landed the dream project: a juicy 6 month campaign which you’re dying to sink your teeth into. But before you leap into the fray head first, be strategic. A successful project is comprised of various parts working in harmony to achieve a goal, or many goals. To give yourself the upper hand, break down the project and set expected dates for completion, as well as catch up chats with clients to keep them updated. There’s also much to be said for putting the most difficult, time consuming aspects earlier on in the project life, to prevent a panic late in the game.

  • 4)Always be accountable

It’s easier to meet deadlines when you’re part of a larger, in-house team with a project manager to be accountable to. When you’re a contractor or freelancer, however, that’s not a luxury you’re likely to have. This means you’re going to have to make yourself accountable for everything. Setup your own management structure using an online tool, and be sure to schedule frequent reports to your client. Being self-employed, your boss will always be the people paying your invoices; remembering that will help you to keep on task. Owning up to mistakes and taking accountability means you’ll also reap the praise later on.

  • 5)Remember It’s Not the End of the World

If you miss a deadline, apologise to the client – and then forgive yourself. Unless you’re a freelance transplant heart courier, being late isn’t the end of the world; you just have to pick yourself up and start again, taking into account what you learned.

Find juggling deadlines and finances too much? Get in touch with Gorilla Accounting and make your money work for you.