Whether it be a freelance gig, a job at work, or a project on your own, you know one thing, you have to get it done, like, yesterday. It’s the usual deal—lot’s of stuff, no time, blah, blah, blah. It has tons of moving pieces, deliverables, and of course, you feel overwhelmed with anxiety setting in.
Congratulations! You are human and this is totally natural. You want to rock this project, show your mad skills to get more respect or more cheddar. However, how are you going to get it all done?
Take a look at these 5 practices...
Chunking. First, break down everything that needs to be done into smaller chunks. If you think of it as one big thing, then it will always remain as one big thing. Like the Hulk, break it down. Break it down by task, steps, assets etc. and make a list of what is absolutely essential to get the project done and prioritize them in order.
Time management. Go through your list and estimate the amount of time it will take to complete each of the tasks in hours. By knowing this you can plan a schedule around it and work backwards from your due date. Also use Time blocking. Once you have the hours, then you can block your day out. Block out which tasks are going to be done, on what days, and what times during the day. Add then to your calendar so you know exactly what you are working on and at what time— don’t forget to schedule in time for breaks, lunch, or just time for you.
Delegate or outsource. You can’t do everything by yourself. Also, you do not have to do everything yourself. There will always be something that you need to learn on the job. Some things you can learn and some things you just don’t have time for. Then you have to ask yourself, “do I have the time to learn this right now?” Is this worth your time? Will taking on this task jeopardize the project timeline? This leads to collaboration over isolation. Reach out and find someone who is a solution to the knowledge gap or specializes in it. This frees up time for you on the big picture and it’s success.
Feedback. Seek out feedback and another perspective on what you are creating. The key to achieving high quality is collaboration, taking feedback and applying it. Prioritize the feedback into 3 buckets...
Showstopper - items that are clearly not accurate, to client spec, or broken. Those items need to be fixed as they are absolutely necessary for the project and client ask.
Low-hanging - items that can improve the quality with low effort that will give the most impact.
Nice to have’s - a list of items to add only extra time allows. This one is tough, it takes discipline.
Execution over Perfection. No matter who you are or what studio you work for, learn that no project ever ships 100%. Perfection doesn’t exist, therefore you cannot reach it. There are always more ideas, more polish, another revision, or something that can be pushed more. Let it go. Don’t create more work. You can only do what you can in the time you have. Focus on what is essential for the delivery of the project and push the quality within those boundaries.
Now all this all sounds easy in theory. These are pretty common practices, so if you are already aware of these—great! It is a good refresher. If these concepts are new to you, then it just takes practice. Review items and make the lists. They are new skills, keep practicing them and you will get better at them! It takes time, and that is perfectly okay.
Between Roger and I, we have worked on literally hundreds and hundreds of projects for games, commercials, movies, campaigns, books, and more. We have used this method for over 20 years.
If you have a project that needs guidance or support, book a Discovery Call to see how we can help your success!
Cheers to a productive year!