This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

How to make deadlines

There are many industries where achieving a deadline is critical. Graphic Design is one of them. If you can achieve deadlines, you can be successful in Graphic Design. If you can't, you won't be. The wrong way to achieve deadlines is to work harder. If that were true, you would probably be hitting all of your deadlines, because you're working as hard as you can, aren't you? And achieving deadlines is not about putting in long hours, either. To make deadlines, you have to think differently.

Achieving a deadline is for people who can picture goals. If you haven't done that, you need to try. I call this "thinking backwards". Picture the final product, then think backwards as to how long it is going to take. Yes, this takes experience. But if everything you're working on seems to take longer than it should, this is the experience that will pay off in the future! Here are some tricks that you can use if you are interested in being a deadline-maker:

• Learn to talk about when something is due. Don't just jump on a project and start working fast and furious. Your client isn't watching you sweating, they are waiting. Look at it from their point of view - asking a client to just wait for something is like asking them to stand on a corner waiting for a bus. Instead, tell them when it will be delivered. Then they can relax.

• Pad your time. No, I don't mean charge more than the time it takes, just allow yourself more time in case something goes wrong. If you are sure that you can deliver it on Tuesday, promise it on Wednesday. By the way, getting a project done early is like getting it done under budget. Clients will love you! This isn't just hitting deadlines, this is killing them!

• Hit deadlines. It's like driving a race car. It's addicting, and leads to cheering and wealth. Every deadline you get is an opportunity to show what a hot shot you are. Show them! When you gain a reputation for hitting deadlines, people will leave you alone. They won't keep bugging you with "how's that project coming along?"

• Take advantage of the latest technology. If you are spending any time at all with an old computer that you have to fight with, or a cell phone that doesn't work, you are being foolish. Upgrade! Yes, it costs money, but it's your investment in you. Do it right and it will pay you back tremendously.

Don't get me wrong, it takes hard work to hit deadlines. It takes fierce concentration and focus. But you need to know where you're going. If you can do that, you can be successful!