Deadlines can be a blessing in disguise if you tend to need a little more motivation to get things done. However, they can also feel overwhelming at times when they’re looming over your head. While deadlines hold you accountable and ensure work gets done on time, it’s not uncommon to dread them as they approach.
You probably understand the benefits of deadlines. They can save your company time and money, boost your productivity, and make it easier to define your goals. But, that doesn’t always make it easy to deal with multiple projects piling up with due dates creeping around the corner.
If you struggle to meet your deadlines or find yourself stressing out about them more often than not, it could be because you’re coming head-to-head with some common digital marketing obstacles.
Let’s take a look at some of those obstacles, how they could be getting in the way, and what you can do to overcome them and meet your deadlines with ease.
1. Time Management
When you first take on a project, you might think you’ll be able to get it done quickly. Or, maybe your plate isn’t full yet so you’ll be able to dedicate a lot of time to it. Unfortunately, the best-laid plans don’t always work out.
Underestimating the time of a project can end up being really stressful, especially when you realize you don’t have as much available time as you’ll probably need to complete it. For example, scheduling social media posts in advance may take a chunk of time that you didn’t expect, pushing back your other tasks — like checking up on A/B testing data or creating a new social ad.
You might also not be using the right software to keep track of your time and make sure you’re efficient with your work. With tracking software, not only will you stay more organized, but you’ll be able to take a look at all upcoming deadlines and have a clearer picture of the projects you can take and the ones you should avoid.
Knowing how to manage your time effectively is crucial, so don’t let these scheduling roadblocks cause you to miss out on important deadlines. Most importantly, don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you plan to schedule those social media posts regularly, track how much time it took you to schedule out a month’s worth of content. Then, use that as a guideline for scheduling around other project deadlines in the future. Workflow management software can come in handy to manage and save time by automating repetitive tasks.
2. Unexpected Roadblocks
You’re sitting at your desk and everything is going right. You’re ahead of the game on almost all of your projects, you’ve got plenty of time to turn things in, and you’re not stressed about the work in front of you. Social media posts are going up according to plan, and you’re watching the engagement trickle in as expected.
Then, a client calls and wants a re-design. Or, maybe they have a different idea altogether. Maybe there’s a sudden death or tragedy in your family or another personal issue that requires your attention.
Life happens, and though you can’t completely prevent these issues, you can work through them by using a decision-making method that works for you. For example, the Kepner-Tregoe Matrix requires you to go through the following steps before you make a final decision:
- Appraise the situation;
- Analyze the problem;
- Analyze the decision;
- Analyze potential problems and solutions.
There are multiple decision-making methods to choose from. Finding one that works for you will help with your confidence, and make it easier to navigate through unexpected roadblocks that might keep you from hitting your deadlines. For example, predicting potential problems — like being out of the office unexpectedly — can help you preemptively create solutions, such as creating a Google Doc of instructions for a designated person to take over marketing operations in the interim.
3. Team Issues
If you work in an office setting with others, or even if you’re all remote but need to communicate regarding projects, problems within your team can lead to missed deadlines and major headaches. Especially with marketing work, the team needs to all be on the same page to effectively communicate branded messages.
Working on a team project requires everyone to pull their weight. If one person isn’t doing their job, the whole project could be thrown off and you could end up missing your deadline. Effective team communication is crucial to ensure everyone’s on the same page and no one is left in the dark. Try to employ strategies like:
- Encouraging transparency;
- Leading by example;
- Respecting everyone’s opinion;
- Listening to feedback;
- Practicing empathy.
Everyone on the marketing team deserves to feel supported and understood, and that will only happen when you make effective and open communication a priority. You never know when someone isn’t doing what they’re supposed to because they’re not supported or they don’t fully understand the project. Regular communication helps to eliminate those issues so you can reap the creative benefits of working with others — without the risk of missing a project deadline that makes everyone look bad.
There are plenty of ways to safeguard yourself against your digital marketing deadlines. Start by avoiding common pitfalls that could get in your way. Identify any issues — such as delayed graphic deliverables or extra client requests — early on in each project so you’ll know if you need to extend your deadline. Most importantly, give yourself a little wiggle room. You don’t want to stretch yourself so thin with work that every project starts to stress you out.
If you’re frequently missing deadlines or staying late so you don’t, keep these obstacles in mind and consider whether you’re falling victim to them more often than not. The more you understand what to avoid, the more positive, productive choices you’ll end up making for yourself and the digital marketing team.