You're in your studio, you have 2 hours till deadline. You know what you have to do and you might know what's not sitting well in the mix or with the video (in case of a post-production job).
We all know that the answer is pretty easy on paper but we just can't get it right sometimes.
Sometimes we worry too much about whether our customer will like it or not.
"What will he think about my decision?"
"Should I change the chord progression at the end?"
We start bombing ourselves with questions that only make us feel worse.
I say "we" because I'm pretending it doesn't happen only to me.
Anyway, what I usually do is turn the screen off, make some more coffee, turn the t.v on for 10 minutes and then go back to the studio, hit "play" and listen to it while the screen is off.
In most cases I found it helpful, but each time in a different way.
Sometimes I could suddenly hear what was bothering me and I immediately knew what I had to do in order to fix it, thinking to myself "god, why did it take me so long to realise it was so simple?"
In other cases the "problems" just sounded more "right", or at least less "problematic" than before, and it wasn't because I got used to them. It was because I came back in a different state of mind. You accept what's written. You wrote it yourself a few hours ago, and it felt right, so there's no reason for it to feel wrong, other than your nerves creating that illusion, and the now-very-short-deadline. :)
Now let's say you handed it over on time and the customer was totally cool with it and even mentioned some other works he has for you in the future. Good thing.
Now think. Was all that pressure necessary? What were the reasons for that?
You will probably smile and agree with me.
One more thing, pretty important to have in mind if you ask me, is understanding that the customer chose you among all of the others because he trusts you. He trusts your ears and your common sense. He has probably listened to past projects and liked your taste.
In other words, he chose you because you're the artist, and no matter how many requests he sends by e-mail and how many phone calls he makes, you have to understand that he's just passionate about his project as much as you should be about making his music come to life. You're both feeling the same thing, and you already got your approval so don't panic!
Revisions. On my first projects I was shaking from fear when answering the call after sending the first version of a mix. My self confidence was below 0. Then I learned to put things in perspective and that list of rejects that I would be given, was actually the fastest, easiest and most accurate way to finish a project according to the customer's expectations. That list became something good, rather than a representation of my weak points. It was all just a matter of perspective.
Just to make things short.
Taking short breaks is important for keeping your ears and mind fresh.
When dealing with a customer, have in mind that he came to you because he just likes you. As simple as that. No matter the reason, be it fee, results, time, name, or just your nice eyes. He likes you, and he just wants to get it done as well as you do. And when he gives you a list of rejects, take it easy and with a big smile, because know you know exactly what bothers him, and you know exactly what to do. In a way, you should be aiming to get that list.
That's all I have to say for now...
I hope it was useful.