This is what I miss.

Why is there never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over? In this electronic world of advertising, I don’t long for the days we would wait for type to be delivered in the middle of the night. Or hours with a matte knife and rubber cement to paste up an ad. Today we can crunch five layouts on a computer in the time it used to take to pencil one.

What I do miss is the time to ponder, contemplate, consider. Now clients email at midnight, text changes the next morning, look for copy by noon. Sometimes, there’s barely enough time to catch your breath, much less time for thought.

Sound familiar? The next question is, so what do we do about it? Below are five ways that you can make sure that you not only get it right the first time but set a precedence for the times that follow.

  1. Set clear and realistic guidelines – if you know that it will take no less than five days to complete a project, be honest with your client about that upfront. Don’t tell them it will be done in three because that’s what they want to hear. You’ll sacrifice quality and then nobody wins.
  2. Post policies and FAQ – your website can be of great value when it comes to setting guidelines for communication and deadlines. If you find it appropriate to do so, consider outlining your business standards in the policies and/or Frequently Asked Questions section.
  3. Mind social media – when it comes to the online world, there is a fine line between friends and business associates. Unless they happen to be a great friend, it is unwise to befriend business contacts, clients, and employees on friend based social media site like Facebook. Stick to LinkedIn should you wish to connect.
  4. Find the sensitivity balance – while it’s important to be sensitive to your clients’ needs, it’s equally as important to be firm with what acceptable behavior is and what is not. If you’re not comfortable with late night phone calls or text messages, say so with a polite, but clear note with your office hours.
  5. Take time for tea – or coffee, or a walk around the block. Take a moment every hour to clear your head and refresh your body. Your work and your clients will thank you for it.

We need to remind ourselves that it takes a lot of preparation to do good work. Maybe clients need to be reminded of that too.

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