You’re on your way to work and you’re stuck in traffic as usual. It seems like the commute is taking longer than ever, and all you can think about is how much you have to get done today, before any new work begins to pile up.

Been there, done that; would not recommend.  The best advice I can offer is to take a deep breath, relax and manage your time wisely.  Stress, frustration, and anxiety will only make things worse and distract you from your goal.  Here are a couple tips I found to be helpful when the time gods are just not your side.

Take A Step Back

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You finally arrive to work, open up your email, and you see one from your boss. An Urgent email stating that a client needs a BRAND NEW project executed by the end of the week. Sounds ridiculous, but you “gotta do what you gotta do”.

Take a step back and read through all the guidelines and directions the client has provided to you.  Always make sure that everything is answered before you start working on the project.

Having clear knowledge of precisely what the client needs helps you move along faster and more efficiently.  Trust me – not having all the necessary data will only lead to double work, which will only hinder your ability to perform successfully.  The last thing you want is a back and forth situation between you and the client, especially if they are new and looking to be swept off their feet.

Have an Open Window

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You’re aware of all of your deadlines and now it’s time to get organized.  Create a game plan that will compliment your process and give you the best results.

ALWAYS overestimate and give yourself an extra day, just in case there are bumps along the way. So, if your project is due Thursday, just make believe the project is due on Wednesday.  By organizing your work to be due one day in advance, it can eliminate any late work or setbacks that are sure to arise when dealing with a team of people. The last thing you want is a late turnaround.

Manage Your Team Properly

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Managing your team is crucial when there is a time crunch.  Be sure to always guide them in the exact direction the client has provided you.  Send out emails with training material. Test them on the workflow & QA steps, and analyze your teams’ abilities to achieve the objectives. The worst thing you can do is just hand your team a new folder of work with no direction or clear instructions.  Managing your team proficiently will help with any time-sensitive situations.  Get it right the first time. To avoid last minute confusion & finger-pointing, be consistent with your follow-ups. Check in on team members’ progress days before the due date; make sure that everyone is still on schedule to meet the client’s deadline.

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As long as you’re organized and stay on top of things, you will no doubt fulfill your goals in a time crunch project.  Always plan for what lies ahead. Make sure that you know your clients’ needs and expectations. Take the time to organize yourself, and your team; organization is key. Having client files well-organized and maintaining a clear schedule of timeline milestones is sure to save you a lot of time and frustration.  And last but not least, make certain to always train your team to the clients’ unique specifications.

In the end, all that’s important is making sure that your clients have fantastic & painless customer service experience. With a strong and organized team, you’ll be ready to take on any challenge and get the job done.  Clear head, clear process – infinite opportunities!