At some point in every busy web developer’s life, he or she finds out that there are too many projects and not enough time. Right now, for example, I have four separate projects I need to have nearly finished in the next week. Not to mention, I have school and the blog I need to be updating.
So, the question becomes, how does one prioritize the most important projects and work efficiently? First of all, listing your projects helps as far as prioritizing which ones should come first. Here are the web sites I need to have at least 90% finished by the end of this week:
- Cultural Media Collaborative – This is a site for a non-profit organization in New York City that specializes in filming documentaries. This client paid half up front and I should have it nearly finished this week.
- Treo Express – This is a new blog/news site for the Palm Treo smartphone. This is a joint project by two other business partners and myself.
- Dot Com Moguls – This is my domain investing business. Our web site will provide links and information about the roughly 170+ domains we are looking to sell.
- Another new blog project – this blog is actually for my Mom and her group of friends. I am doing this project for free, because it’s for my Mom! Nonetheless, this blog will require significant design work from start-to-finish.
Here are the qualifications I use to determine project priority, in order of most important to least important.
- Deadlines. Which project has the closest deadline? In my case, the web site for Cultural Media Collaborative should be nearly done by the end of this week. I still have a Flash header to intregrate into the site and this should take at least 10 hours. Projects with deadlines for clients should be taken care of with special attention. If you can meet all requested deadlines with clients, they are much more likely to recommend you to others. Even if you can’t meet a deadline, at least be upfront with your client and let them know you are running behind. Good communication can’t be more important when working with clients.
- Which projects have paid up front? The projects that have paid half upfront deserve priority. Personal projects should always take a backseat to paid client work. If you are doing a free project for someone, you must make it clear that paying clients have prority, because afterall, this is your job.
- Which projects will put the most money in your pocket? Money is especially important for the freelancer, because without it, we don’t get to eat! In the case of Treo Express, this project has the higest potential for financial returns because of the “Hot Deals” page we will be implementing. This project has a higher PPL than Dot Com Moguls, for example, because advertising DCM is less likely to produce many sales.
Oftentimes with how hectic life becomes, one forgets about the need to always be setting priorities. I believe that by setting priorities to each project, we are able to work most efficient and consistently.