9 Tips on how to meet Deadlines in a breeze
Regardless if you’re a freelance or employed translator, every workplace has its fair share of deadlines. Being able to complete your assignment on time is crucial to corporate productivity and the effective use of time.
Although lots of us feel pressured by them, deadlines shouldn’t be such a dreaded demand. If you learn how to prepare yourself towards a tight deadline, you will feel much more confident about handing in your translation on time. Here are a few tips that will take “dead” out of the target line.
- Set a realistic goal
Being overzealous and agreeing to an unreasonable deadline is why many people end up feeling wretched. Not the date of the deadline is essential but the period until then. If you sense that a particular task is not achievable or would stretch you to the unimaginable then say “No” (you might have to learn to say No – which is another issue). Only agree to timeframes that are realistic and that you are willing to give 100% commitment.
- What are the specifications
Once you’ve committed yourself to meet the deadline, you need to understand precisely what is required of you. Try to imagine you’re having the final product in front of you: does it meet the expectations from your client or employer? Or exceed them? What quality control can you perform to ensure a pristine product? In such a way you are conjuring up all necessary steps to complete this project, and you can allocate time slots accordingly.
- Take notes
When you are given a new task, make sure to take some notes along with the exact deadline. Plot down all requirements and keep all supporting material in an orderly folder – physically or electronically. Put the precise deadline into your calendar or To-Do app. If you have many projects running at the same time create some reminders.
- Cut the project into smaller pieces
Fist break your task into different steps such as the read-through, gathering glossary, translating, reviewing, quality control. Then cut the most substantial step into smaller pieces too, in most cases this will be the translating itself.
Subsequently, you can assign each step a time frame – this could be days or even hours. Being able to visualise each mini-deadline will massively affect how easily you can make the main deadline.
- Work with deep-focus
Get rid of distractions: clear your desk and desktop of unnecessary clutter, go off-line (or switch off any social media reminders etc.) Give yourself a break time and start working with deep-focus. You might find that this will make you much more productive. Meeting the mini-deadlines every day will keep you motivated, and the assignment will be done in a breeze.
- Ask – if you get stuck
If you have a question – ask! Send your client an email. It will help you avoid making mistakes or mulling over something losing valuable time. Furthermore is this a sign of professionalism, a sign that you care about this project.
- If you cannot meet the deadline, say so – early
This can be daunting, especially after you have been so confident in saying that you can do it in time. However, your client will appreciate it much more if you just come out and give them a heads up. We are only human and sometimes unexpected events can interfere with a project – people will understand.
- Work extra time
If you are fully committed to a deadline because it is an important client or a major-league project, then you might have to sacrifice a few more hours each day. If it could result in a promotion or further work from a client, then get some coffee and start a night shift.
Throughout the project, you should be communication with the person who assigned you the project, especially for larger projects. Some clients require a sample translation of 1K words to assess quality. This is excellent feedback and helps to iron out any problems regarding glossary and style at an early stage. Better to have the mistakes highlighted at the beginning of a project rather than at the end.
As you see, a major part of successfully completing an assignment is the preparation and organisation thereof. Deadlines do not have to be a daunting phenomenon. You can hit it with ease if you have the right mindset, don’t overcommit and communicate with your client or employer