I have a confession to make.
One of my time management techniques: I deliberately kill myself, trying to reach my goals.
The first time I was introduced to any concept of time management was in college.
My engineering design team’s assignment: create a non-conventional passenger aircraft. A huge undertaking.
Our professor drew a bell curve on the board, “College students typically will do 80% of the work in the last 20% of the time allowed.”
My teammates and I vowed we would not do that. We met every day for at least 4 hours to work on our project. On the weekends, we met 8 to 10 hours both days.
We did 80% of the work in the last 20% of the time allowed.
I wouldn’t understand why until reading the Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. He wrote about Parkinson’s Law which states “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”
If you say it takes 6 weeks to complete a project, guess what? It takes 6 weeks. Take that same project, give yourself 2 weeks and guess what? It takes 2 weeks.
Then my college experience made sense. Because we “obtained” and taught ourselves how to use all this new, whiz-bang software. Trying to be clever.
In other words, we were busy. Busy focusing on stuff that wasn’t germane to the assignment.
To combat that …
I set myself an impossibly short deadline.
Because I understand my brain. When I have a goal with a deadline, my brain automatically reverse engineers everything I need to do. Here’s Step 1, Step 2, Step 3…
The more time I have to complete a task, the more steps my brain creates.
Tony Robbins said, ““One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power.”
Shortening that deadline forces my brain to focus only on those things that are important. And what’s important stays important.
Sometimes this means I kill myself, trying to hit that deadline.
I’m ok with that. A few reasons for that.
First: usually the quality of the work improves. Focusing in on what’s important or what’s actually needed is more than sufficient.
Second: another project gets completed in short order.
It sounds counter-intuitive, killing myself to hit a shorter deadline.
But it serves me well.
The more projects I get completed, the closer I get to my goal.