Deadline-Driven Ingenuity

Isn’t it amazing how much you can get done when you’re trying to finish things up before a vacation or business trip?! Why IS that? And perhaps more importantly, why don’t we work like that on ‘regular’ days?

I think it has something to do with Parkinson’s Law, which states, “WORK EXPANDS SO AS TO FILL THE TIME AVAILABLE FOR ITS COMPLETION.”

The corollary would go something like this, “Deadlines can be our friends!!”

The ‘How’ Part –

  1. Start with an assignment you can do on your own and guesstimate how much time you think you need to get it done.
  2. Do the task.
  3. Compare how long it actually took with how long you thought it would take to determine why your estimate was wrong.
  4. Repeat Steps 1-3 with new tasks until you’re finding your estimates have become more accurate and reliable.
  5. Start challenging yourself to think differently about what’s needed to complete your tasks in less time.
    • Hint: Try to do only what’s required, not all that you can do – I’m talking to you, Perfectionists!
    • Hint: Try using bullet points rather than full sentences – stop spending so much time wordsmithing.
    • Hint: Try cutting your initial estimates by at least 30% to eliminate ‘working faster’ as a viable option.
  6. Repeat Steps 1-5, incorporating your new way of thinking until you learn what needs to be learned.

There’s more I COULD say, obviously, but this is the gist of it. Now go. Do. Learn.

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