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Learn how to create great results on a short timeline

Have you ever been pressed for time on a project and not sure how you are going to pull off amazing results? Well, me too. It’s time to kick “stressing out about a quick turnaround timeline” to the curb! Here are three tips to help you get your quick-turn project done efficiently and at a very high level.

Get clear

This may sound basic, but it is valuable: write down what you need to accomplish in simple language. For example, if you need to write a great blog post, you could jot down a list like, “Brainstorm three topics to write about. Choose one. Outline the points. Write three, short, 200-word paragraphs for a total of 600 words. Find one compelling image to accompany the blog. Share my rough draft with a colleague for edits. Finesse my writing. Deliver my text and image. Celebrate by patting myself on the back.” Get what you need to do out of your head by writing it down in list form. And then use the list. This will relieve stress and will give you a map of what you need to accomplish to get the clarity you need for project success.

Work incrementally

Something magical happens when you turn an idea into reality. You get to see your idea for what it is and improve upon it. So, make an idea real faster and iterate more often. Don’t try to be perfect. Aim to be consistent and work quickly. Set a time limit for yourself–you’ll be amazed what you can do in a short amount of time when you give yourself a deadline. For example, continuing the thread from above, start by writing your first 200-word paragraph without worrying about if it is perfect. Sit down and write it. Then, write the next two paragraphs the same way. Great job! Now that you have the paragraphs written, you have something tangible to address. Read the paragraphs out loud. How do they sound? Do they feel consistent and cohesive? Is the voice right? Adjust if something doesn’t sound right. Work incrementally and try to improve. Once you have some copy, think visually by looking for images to accompany your blog. Choose three that feel right. And get ready to share your text and images with a colleague for discussion and refinement.

Share your work

Time may be tight for your project delivery, but you probably have enough time to run your text (…or logo sketches, mood board, creative brief, PowerPoint deck, or business plan, etc.) and images by a colleague. Choose someone who also has expertise in the type of project you are working on. Tip: Contact your colleague at the start of the project before you begin to ask if they can set aside time to review and edit your text (or whatever you are working on). Set expectations for what you are looking for from them and when they can expect to receive something from you. The act of setting up an internal deadline with a colleague could also be a way to prompt you to work more efficiently, quickly, and deliver on time. Sharing your work is a great way to verify that your project matches your intent. Their objectivity could uncover hidden ways to improve it that you never thought were possible. Super short on time? Call them and read it or show it to them. And finally, be sure to give your colleague a big thank you.

In summary, if you are running up against tight deadlines, take a deep breath and use these three steps: get clear about what you are doing by writing it down in a list and using it. Work in smaller bite-sized incremental improvement steps. Finally, share your work to get another perspective. These are just three great ways to help you get amazing results on a short timeline. I hope they are as helpful to you as they are to me.

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