07 May Are you overwhelmed by the time it takes to get anything done?
Parkinson’s Law states that a task will expand to fill the time allotted for the task.
You’re probably laughing at that right now, aren’t you? Most mornings you probably have a routine. You get up at a certain time, shower, get dressed, drink your coffee and have breakfast… all at a pace that seems to take up every moment of that time, until you have to rush out the door.
Then, one day, you sleep through your alarm clock and wake up with less than half the time you normally take to get ready. Miraculously, you manage to do everything you need to do to be ready to face the day… and STILL make it out the door without being late!
The same thing happens for most tasks. If you decide that you only have one hour to complete a task, it will most likely get done in that hour. But if you allow yourself three hours… it will take three hours!
Why is that? In part, because we allow ourselves the luxury of procrastination… of contemplating the options… of hesitating over decisions that could be made faster if we didn’t spend as much time on them!
The fact is, setting deadlines and time limits is important to getting work done efficiently. Must successful people create timetables for large projects, to-do lists for tasks, and schedule their day around getting those tasks completed. They get a sense of accomplishment from checking those items off of the list and it gives them encouragement to move on to the next task.
Take some time to plan out your goals and work backwards from there. Make a list of the smaller tasks that need to be accomplished, and set defined times for each task. (Tip: I use a Power Hour – either to complete one important task, or I divide it into 20-minute segments for my three most important tasks.)
Then, be diligent! Don’t let your mind wander to other tasks during that time or lose focus on what you are trying to accomplish. Ignore the lure of e-mail, social networking, or even the ringing of the phone. It can all wait!
Use Parkinson’s Law to your benefit. Keep your mind focused on completing the task at hand… and when you’re done, take a moment to celebrate your success!
What is one task that you need to complete today? Give yourself one hour to complete that task and see what happens!
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