How To: Stay on Top of Your Project Deadlines
As an independent artist, producer, songwriter or other type of creative working in the music industry, keeping up with everything on your plate can get overwhelming. But we’re not kids anymore, it’s time to start holding ourselves accountable! Trying to stay on top of deadlines without having proper work habits in place can be so draining. In this How To, you’ll learn some tips and tricks about how to stay on top of your deadlines for any and all projects ranging from music releases to marketing rollouts and more.
Step 1: Make A Plan
Everything starts with a plan! As an artist myself, when planning I find it really helpful to be thorough and add details both big and small, so you know exactly which points you want to accentuate. Expand on everything! This way you ensure you are meeting all of your criteria and you won’t have to backtrack. Start by writing down some tasks or goals you want to accomplish. You can utilize your own system of organization, or download one of the many tools available online to do so. A great planner/organizer is https://trello.com, both their website and app are really simple to use which makes executing plans way less daunting.
Step 2: Set Realistic Goal Dates
Although this may not seem important, this is actually a crucial step because you need to give yourself time to meet your deadlines! If you give yourself an unrealistic time frame to execute, you’re shortchanging your work and your stress levels. You may think you’re capable of anything (which you mostly are), however, if your project is more extensive/grand than you originally thought it was going to be, you don’t want to have to shortcut anything. When setting a date, take all your calendars and obligations into account because chances are you have other things on your plate. Do NOT overwhelm yourself by trying to take on too many projects. Lastly, always give yourself leeway (about a week or two) in case things don’t go as planned. It’s important to give yourself wiggle room in case plans end up changing, this way you have time to assess the situation and come up with a way to divert and make another plan if necessary.
Step 3: Set Reminders!
Truth is, we’re getting older and we don’t remember things like we used to… but thank God for reminders! Reminders are super helpful and convenient — you’ll never miss another deadline because you’ll always be three steps ahead. I even find it very helpful to double your reminders in order to make sure you know what you have to get done and when it needs to get done by. Examples of this are reminders on your calendar for when first, second and final drafts should be done. Daily planners, both physical and electronic, are great places to set reminders. If you want to take the online planner route, https://trello.com can be helpful for this, too. But even utilizing your simple phone calendar goes a long way.
Step 4: Hold Your Team Accountable
Make sure you stay in contact with the people (if any) that are a part of your project and thus a part of you being able to meet your deadlines. As an artist this is #1, because most artists are “cats” so if you’re not on top of your sh*t, it’s easier for others to pull a fast one on you. It’s super important to make sure you’re holding people accountable for what they’re responsible for (especially if your deadlines aren’t being met). This looks like sending clarifying emails, communicating clearly about timing before deadlines, checking in to see if progress is being made through texts, calls, emails, etc. Remember you’re not being annoying, you’re being professional! If you’re an artist, this could be doing something like staying in touch with producers/engineers about mixing and mastering. If you’re a manager this looks like keeping in touch with venues, blogs, etc. There’s nothing wrong with double texting, emailing and so on, just as long as you’re professional and are sending emails/texts at an appropriate hour. This step also applies to yourself…hold yourself accountable!