I don’t want to be a miss obvious here but… delays happen. We all have experienced them, we all have dealt with them. Expectedly or unexpectedly. What to do when you’re creating a project that everyone is waiting for and you suddenly realize… it’s not gonna happen in time?! Let’s take a look on how to learn dealing with delays in your client work?
I wrote about finding time for your project and committing to what you’ve started. But, as we all know, planning is one thing and reality – something completely different. Does that make us bad persons? Not really.
When I first started writing about my e-course creation process, I decided to spend some time each Saturday to share with you how is it going, share some advice and useful information I’ve found out myself along the way.
At the same time, I gave myself the option to back up by saying that I’ll do my best, but I can’t promise to get back EVERY Saturday. With all the Holidays, additional traveling and everything, it’s been crazy! I can’t find time to catch my project deadlines, not even talking about scheduled blog posts or literally anything else…
It was one of the lightbulb moments when I realized how important it is to accept being late and learn healthy ways for dealing with delays. Here are some of the ideas!
Dealing with delays, step by step
Delays are painful for everyone, no matter what are we talking about here.
For clients who’re waiting when their projects will get done, for your next clients who’re waiting for their projects to get started, for yourself, since your plans are crashing faster than you can manage them. Whether you’re having a lack of time for your blogging, your marketing, your clients, your e-mails or ANYTHING else, it’s bad. But after all: it’s a reality and we’ll never escape it.
So here’s my advice in dealing with delays:
STEP#1: Accept that you won’t make it
First of all, you have to realize that you will need more time than you expected. Don’t fool yourself till it’s too late. As soon as you feel like you’re running out of time and you’re realizing that you won’t reach your deadlines: accept it. It’s important not to feel guilty. Even if you’ve been super lazy and it’s just your own guilt that you got yourself into that – there’s nothing else to do than to accept this situation!
STEP #2: Inform those who are involved
Whether those are your clients, it’s your boss or your readers… You have to inform whoever is waiting on you!
The truth is: people are willing for everything to be done in time. But there’s more behind it. They’re also well aware that not every deadline can be reached.
Honesty is the best way to go. If you have the option to explain your reasons: it’s even better. Yes, you read it right. You don’t have to hide that you’ve been ill, you’ve started way too many projects or you haven’t learned to manage your time fully. As you might have heard, people like to work with other people: understand that they’re just as you are.
Sooner you’ll inform anyone who’s involved, sooner they’ll be able to manage their own expectations or any related plans.
STEP #3: Make this information public (if that’s the case)
If your delays are not private (for example, related to your client job or your agreement with your boss or sister), you can use the beauty of nowaday options and make this information public. If something was planned sooner than you can make it happen, publish it on your Twitter, Facebook or blog, whatever rocks your boat.
For example, I was willing to get my E-course out there already at the beginning of January and make it available for the public in February. Now it’s been shifted by month. I’ve changed information on my website, I’m writing this post to inform about it and I’ll send out Newsletter to anyone who’s shown the interest, so they’re on board with things.
STEP #4: Set new, more realistic deadlines
You shouldn’t expand your deadline to infinity. As it’s mentioned in the book Finish: Give yourself the gift of done, starting is always more satisfying than making it to the final.
However, deadlines are created to reach them, not throw them in the garbage…
This time you should be clear about what’s your availability, you shouldn’t take on more than you can and after all: don’t make people wait too long!
If you’re adding 2-3 days for a project won’t hurt anybody. 1-2 weeks in severe cases are fine. For bigger projects: 10 – 15% of the initial timing should be maximum. But it all depends on your situation!
One other important thing to keep in mind:
Very often deadlines turn out not to be as important as you thought they would…
You might feel super stressed that something is not going as you planned it to. For example, I’m always feeling super bad about anything that’s happening later than I expected or promised. And that’s ok to feel this way.
But the world keeps turning! In many cases, you could get the answer “Ok, it’s all fine!” or “No worries, I don’t have time for that right now anyway!”
Just remember: to be honest and inform people before the deadline has come and you haven’t reached it…
What are your favorite ways of dealing with delays?