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4 ways to cope with tough deadlines

How to cope with tough deadlines

Being a freelancer means juggling lots of work at once

Juggling multiple client demands is a fact of life for everyone from junior designer to creative director – you can't escape it, even if you are working from home. We asked the illustrators at MP Arts to reveal how they manage their heavy workloads.

01. Pin everything on the wall

Rather than complex project management software, Fernando Volken Togni favours a simple corkboard: "I pin everything on it," he smiles. "I need to visually know what's happening. I separate them by colour for different clients, and try to be very organised with that. It feels great to throw the Post-its away when I finish."

02. Plan out your whole week

With multiple projects going on at once, it can all get overwhelming. Jamie Jones advocates planning out an overview of each week: "Work out what you're doing each day – maybe even split it into half-days," he says. "It sounds obvious, but the number of people that actually do that is probably quite small."

03. Prioritise at the sketching stage

For Josh McKenna, prioritising is key – and the easiest point to control how much time to spend on a project is at the sketching stage. "If I have three jobs on, I'll have a day where I just do initial sketches to show the client," he says. "I develop them further in order of importance."

04. Don't bite off more than you can chew

When you first start out, it can be tempting to say 'yes' to every job. Michael Driver learnt the hard way how tough that can be, with plenty of late nights. "That's something you're never taught at university. You can't really be taught how to be hard on yourself. Now I take short lunch breaks and get up slightly earlier."

This article originally appeared in Computer Arts magazine issue 248.

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