Every design project would entail a deadline for the clients would need your designs in a certain time. Hence, it is important to finish projects on time. Being able to finish on a deadline is a way of showing professionalism. It also makes your branding even more solid and it keeps a good reputation for you as a freelancer. Clients look for designers who can deliver quality service on time. That is why it is very much important to keep an eye on your freelance deadline. Finding it hard to do that?

We will help you how you can work on your projects with the deadline in mind. Doing this is part of being a responsible freelancer. We have some tips on How Designers Can Hit Deadlines before Clients Hit Them which can be helpful for you to meet deadlines. But for now, let us check how you can keep a focus on your deadline. Here are tips for you:

1. Be an objective perfectionist.

Be an objective perfectionist

Nothing is really wrong with being a perfectionist as long as you are not exaggerated on terms of perfectionism. Graphic designers are naturally perfectionist when it comes to their designs. This is important to make sure that their work will turn out well. But even if one is trying to achieve perfection, one also needs to keep an eye on a deadline. This means that a designer should not be spending too much time on a certain detail even if it is already polished for this would be time consuming and might even hinder him to finish it on time.

2. Set specific tasks at a time.

Set specific tasks at a time

Doing this can allow you to focus on a deadline. You will be able to check on what certain tasks you will need to do in a particular time. It can be a guide for you to keep you on track of the project. It is of course important that you will follow what you have set. Do not mix up tasks because it can ruin your process and may result to mistakes.

3. Create a daily plan.

Create a daily plan

Before you go to bed, create a plan for the next day. This will help you to focus what you will be doing for the day making it easier for you to finish a project on time. Making a daily plan can also help you to organize all other things you need to do for the day including lunch breaks and others.

4. Break down tasks.

Break down tasks

A good way to successfully work on a project is to break them into different tasks. Working is like eating a big cookie. You do not swallow the entire piece for if you do, you will not be able to eat it all up. You have to break it into chunks so you can chew it well and be able to get a good taste of it. So, when you are working, break a big task into smaller tasks and this will let you work smoothly towards the deadline.

5. Take little breaks.

Take little breaks

It doesn’t mean that just because you wanted to finish on the due date that you will no longer take breaks. When you want to work on a project well, take little breaks to eat snacks or to have coffee. This can make you work faster because taking breaks is like recharging yourself. It helps you relax your mind a little. If you do not take breaks, your mind will get tired and you will see that instead of having better work results, you will end up spending time to fix mistakes.

6. Set a reward for yourself.

Set a reward for yourself

Not only little kids deserve a chocolate after doing a good job. Even adults do. When you work, keep your eyes on the prize. This can motivate you to work faster and better. Some can even finish earlier since they are that eager to get the reward at the end. Setting a reward for yourself aside from the payment you get from clients can be a good thing. It can be new stuffs for yourself or a gadget that you had been wishing for.

7. Get organized.

Get organized

Things would be a lot easier if you are organized. Organize everything including your files both from papers to computer documents. You should also organize your list of things to do for the day. This way, you will be able to finish tasks easier. It would take time if your files are cluttered for you will still need to look for some items that you need. You may want to check on How to Develop Your Organizational Skills for tips on being organized.

8. Follow your schedule.

Follow your schedule

Creating a list of your tasks to do for a certain time would be useless if you do not follow it. So, be sure to follow it so that you can finish on time. Crash out or check those tasks that you have finished. Doing this can make you see that you are no longer far from your finish line. This can keep you going with your work.

9. Plan a monthly list.

Plan a monthly list

Aside from planning a daily list, having a long term plan can help you, too. Like if you want to plan for a vacation on a certain date, this can guide you on which dates you will not accept projects. This way, you are sure to finish projects before the date of your trip and you will also be able to check that you do not accept projects that are due during your vacation. Advance planning is a good thing for your business.

10. Block out distractions.

Block out distractions

One good way of making sure that you will able to focus on a deadline is by blocking out distractions. Do not entertain distractions. Distractions could be unimportant phone calls or emails. You can entertain these calls after your work. Let your mind focus on your work. It also entails self discipline in order to finish your work on time.

It’s Your Turn Now

If you find it hard to focus on deadlines, this post could be helpful for you. But what is more important is to have self-discipline and to be aware of the due dates for a project. How about you, what do you do to keep an eye on your deadlines? Aside from the points we have above, would you like to add some more?

Kareen Liez

About the author: A Civil Engineer who has a construction business and a youth volunteer for a civic organization. She also contributes for a local newspaper due to her unwavering passion to write.


  1. Must follow steps for the freelancers to achieve quality and performance in their job. Planning and breaking a task into a small ones are good tactics to be followed.

    1. Thanks for reading Even and Kyle 🙂 We are glad that you’ll consider our tips for your own tasks and projects.

  2. Also for repeat tasks or tasks that continue to lead into the next day after the next day (continuously), explain why a task needs to be done, but do so using IF statements. Example: tomorrow I have to do an audience and website analysis, and I have to create a site-map as well — I have to do this for 3 websites. So I’m not just gonna say what I need to do; I’m gonna say why I need to do it too. And the way I did it was like this:

    If I get the analysis and site-maps done, I can finally move onto sketching and designing prototypes for the design…

    It’s really that simple. But the statement is about how you feel when you say it. If you don’t feel motivated by using the if statement, that means it’s not enough. You need to actually feel some sort of exciting feeling inside yourself for it to be a good IF statement. And how I do it is by thinking about a reward: what would relieve my furstration or make me feel excited if I completed this task? What would I be able to do if I completed this task? ….That’s how I do it.

    Now, another thing you should know is that it’s really helpful to not just say when you’re gonna do a task, but how you’re gonna do the task as well. It gives you a head-start on what needs to be done, plus it helps your brain rest long enough to hopefully and later on generate better ways of doing the task. And so what I call this is simply “sub tasks,” tasks that state what specifically needs to be done in an orderly or un-orderly fashion. Just make a task and outline some steps that would be needed to complete it.

    1. Thank you Jarod for your input. It is really helpful especially for freelancers who are finding it hard to keep an eye on their deadlines.

  3. Having deadline is a must in doing a project so that you will be discipline in wasting time..

  4. Good tips,is there other tips that can help to freelancer who are finding it hard to keep an eye on their deadlines?

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