A few years ago I was having a conversation with a photographer friend of mine. We were talking about business and giving each other tips on how we could become more effective.  At one point in the conversation he turned to me and said, “There’s always time to do it over but there’s never time to do it right in the first place.”

I wondered what point he was trying to make since this statement seemed contradictory. Then he told me his story. A long-time client of his was on a tight deadline and needed a high priority, rush shoot. His assignment was to go to a busy street and shoot the crowd. Sound easy? You would think so.

He rushed over, took the shot and raced back to the client. He couldn’t wait to show them. He was proud of himself and was positive they would be happy. At that time he didn’t know about his BIG MISTAKE, he was still caught up in the delight of meeting his deadline.

What he didn’t know was there was a large billboard in the background of the photo. So what, many busy streets have billboards. Well, it wasn’t the billboard that was the problem, it was the competitor’s name on the billboard that was. And do you know what happened next?

He had time to do it over.

If he had taken the time to think through his assignment this wouldn’t have happened. And the moral of the story… the client never hired him again.

When we are rushing to meet deadlines we often jump in without thought. When we jump in without assessing the environment we make big mistakes and the consequence is we have to do it over and like my friend you may lose a client. So how do you do it right when you are faced with seemingly impossible deadlines?

In order to do it right from the beginning do not get caught in the hysteria of the moment. You need a clear head to determine how you will get the job done. You look out of control when you run around screaming “I have to meet a deadline” and it can be infuriating for others who are trying to get their own work done.

As my friend felt about his photo, not a pretty picture. Instead, pause and take that spot of time where you would have been running around to plan your approach. Those few minutes can make all the difference.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Make sure that you know and understand what is required. Ask what is the purpose and what you are intended to accomplish. Obtain as much detail as you can. This information will steer you in the right direction and provide answer questions that you don’t have time to ask.

One question you might not think to ask is why is there such a tight deadline? Is this deadline final or is there any wiggle room? Is the deadline for a specific time of day? If it is at the close of one day you might be able to squeeze in some extra time by asking to provide your deliverable in the morning of the next day.

Just remember doing it right from the beginning will save you time in the long run.