Add one more to the “not being able to finish things” pile. I’ve had to confront this issue in a serious way recently as it’s now affecting my client work. Here are three ways I’ve been working toward recovery:
Apologize to those in your past whom you’ve affected by not finishing their work or pushing their project past deadline.
For me at least, I felt better knowing that those people knew I really cared about their project but just have an inability to finish things sometimes – let’s be honest, many times. Plus, those people will sometimes give you pointers on how to more effectively work with clients when you need extra time.
One pointer that I sometimes neglect is to do frequent check-ins so my client can gauge progress and make suggestions. Most of the time I don’t check-in out of fear that the client won’t feel I’m far enough along – which has never been the case; I just worry too much. Not all client suggestions have to be followed but at least some will keep you from hitting a problem area in your work which you, as a perfectionist, will try everything possible to overcome. It’s the obsession to overcome all problems, many of which the client won’t see, that will quickly make you run over deadline.
- Schedule your day/week.
Don’t rely on your memory when it comes to organizing tasks for the day/week. Write down every task and appointment you need to perform and prioritize them – even the small things that seem insignificant at the time. Those insignificant things are the ones most likely to be forgotten until the last minute, at which point you’ll have to stop a more important tasks such as client work.
[u]My tips for scheduling:
[/u]- first, schedule repetitive tasks such as sleeping, eating, laundry, grocery shopping and job/classes. If you’re hardcore, make this schedule two to four weeks in advance of when you’ll use it.
next, schedule non-repetitive tasks and prioritize them. Certain things you’ll be able to schedule far in advanced but always add to the current day’s schedule as same-day tasks arise.
when bidding on a client project, always propose a timeframe that allows for human/computer errors. For a project which I feel can be finished in three hours, I’ll tell the client four hours. A quality client will value reliability more than speed and you’ll eliminate the need to regularly schedule doctor’s visits for high stress levels.
schedule a time when you can practice your craft. This is time you’ve earned so be generous. To keep you focused during this practice time, write a loose schedule for what you’d like to accomplish. You can really make your practice time meaningful by engaging in your weaker artistic areas.
3.[i] Create personal projects.
[/i]I don’t think I’m alone in this one but I’m having to come to grips with the fact that although the creation of my client work feels like art to me (I do illustrations and animations), it’s considered a project asset to my clients. So as much as you want the work to look perfect in your own eyes, remember that it’s the client’s eyes that sign off on a project and they may have an altogether different view of things.
By working on your personal project, you can regain the control you lose when working for a client. It’s no mystery that we all want to feel in control of something, it’s just a matter of when you choose to exercise that want. If you’re having difficulty developing your own projects then, when all is finished on a client’s project, revisit the client’s work and complete it to your liking. When the pressure of a deadline is off, you have more opportunity to explore and learn.
While I’m still in the confessional, I also have poor color sense when going past two colors and my painting skills are rustier than all getout. During my alloted practice time I hit the painting books in search of traditional techniques and do digital color paintings using ArtRage or Painter Classic.