There is so much to being a freelance web designer with balance. Be sure to take time for yourself. Create efficient processes or even outsourcing tasks to ensure you have time for your projects.
But what about the projects themselves? When you please multiple clients, it seems impossible to find a balance. And it may not even be necessary.
In fact, every web design project is a unique entity. And while it makes sense to be diligent in your endeavors, not all tasks are equally important. That’s why the ability to prioritize your work is so valuable.
This is a skill I have struggled with for the past two decades. Life is a journey, as they say.
But even if we do not always put it right, there are a few things to consider when prioritizing. Let ‘s look at some important factors that will help.
Create a Schedule and Stay Flexible
If you ask a client when they would like their project completed, chances are they will say “as soon as possible.” That’s no surprise or negative – it’s just the way of our world.
So, it is often up to us to set a schedule. The trouble is that it’s easy to focus on the client’s timeline without thinking of me. This can lead to some mental rush to do some projects within a small window of time.
Before agreeing to a specific launch date, take a moment and think about the other tasks on your to-do list. This includes projects that are currently pending, as they are usually extremely troublesome.
The idea is to take a broad view of your schedule and then provide a timeline. In my experience, I have found that conservative estimation works best. Why? Because there are so many factors that we cannot control.
And that gives us flexibility. It is important to understand that schedules are subject to change. Things happen unexpectedly and nothing is set in stone. So be prepared to make adjustments as needed.
Consider Client Placement in Your Portfolio
Every client deserves to be treated fairly and with respect. But they do not all require the same level of priority in your project queue.
For example, think of two fictional clients: Client A and Client B (creative names, I know!):
- Let’s say you are working on a website redesign for Client Awhich was 20% of your total income last year.
- Client B It’s new and you’re hired to create a one – page site. It’s a small project but maybe something bigger would come out of it if their company grew.
Since Client A a major source of revenue, will mean that their project is a priority Client B. But, even if you can rationalize this in your head, it is not always easy to apply.
Sometimes these small projects take a disproportionate amount of time. Maybe that’s why the client is always looking for reviews, or you want to satisfy them. Regardless, the result is that it takes your attention away from projects that are more important to your bottom line.
This does not mean that you should ignore the smaller client. It’s just a reminder to look at the bigger picture as you decide how to allocate your valuable time.
Manage Client Expectations
Remember when I mentioned flexibility? That skill seems to be tested on a daily basis. And it’s essential to keep your priorities straight.
For many of us, prioritizing work is more than just dealing with longer – term projects. These day-to-day client requests also play a role.
This may take the form of a minor content update. Or it could be a completely unexpected big task that falls into your lap. They have the power to throw a monkey wrench into your carefully designed schedule.
Once again, it’s about taking a step back and discovering how everything fits together. Real emergencies (broken website, organizational crisis, etc.) can come to the fore. But other items may have to wait their turn.
This can be difficult for clients to understand. They emailed you full of instructions and wanted it done immediately. Maybe they gave it a lot of thought in the end. But if it’s so important, shouldn’t they have given you more time?
Communication is crucial in this case. You cannot be expected to release everything you are doing – and clients need to understand that. Be proactive in setting guidelines so your clients know how you work.
Priority Helps You Do Things
It takes time to prioritize your projects – and lots of practice. And there will probably be days when things do not go as planned. I would think that this is a natural part of running a business.
But by prioritizing your workflow, you will have a better hand on your to-do list. It can do wonders in terms of your stress level. As a result, things are done more efficiently.
You will get a clear head and the satisfaction of finishing your project. If so, consider prioritizing it.