How do you manage conflicting deadlines, and what do you do if you realise you can’t meet them all?

Back in April, in our first blog, we raised some questions we think you ought to ask a VA before you potentially start working with them.  Now we thought it was worth us looking at how we would answer those questions if they were put to us.

How do you manage conflicting deadlines?  And what do you do if you realise you can’t meet them all?

This one is actually one of my favourites, because I think it can tell you a lot about them and what you can expect from them.

In the past some of my processes for dealing with deadlines has been a little, shall we say, rubbish? When I first started out and I got busy, my go to response was to work later.  In fact, I had an audio transcription deadline for the next morning, and I’d underestimated how long it would take me to do.  I worked all night, and was in agony with RSI for days!

But, bright side, the work got done and the client never knew.

However, that sort of process isn’t going to work longer time.  You do actually need to be able to take a break and manage yourself better. Thankfully, I learnt my lesson.

Now, for the largest part, I know what work I have to get through each day, so can plan my time accordingly just the same as anyone else. Where clients have similar deadlines I always ensure that when I’m caught up with everything else I start working on things ahead of schedule. That way I don’t have lots of projects to start at once.

Equally, for longer projects, I tend to build in fake deadlines to help keep me focussed. If I have to have something ready for Wednesday, I’ll make sure it’s done for Monday.  That way there’s a little bit of back-up time just in case anything goes wrong.  The problem with having five children is that there’s always the possibility someone’s going to be ill!  I am therefore a huge fan of the back-up plan.

Occasionally when I’m already up against a client will ask for something to be turned around urgently.  Unfortunately, I have in the past had to say that I’m too busy.  I hate doing it, but I would rather be honest than run the risk of under delivering and letting someone down. To date most people actually extend their deadline to a timescale I can manage, and appreciate the honesty.

 

 

If you have any other questions you might want to ask please email hello@timesavingheroes.co.uk or go old fashioned and pick up the phone. Our number is 0161 883 2024.