How long does it really take to get that thing done?
You’re at a team meeting. There’s an important task allocated to you. You tell the team you can finish it in 2 weeks.
(In actual fact, you could probably get it done in one but to be safe, let’s allocate 2 weeks)
You get started on the task, think to yourself gees this will are a breeze, so you pop it on the back burner. A fortnight rolls around and you look at your list. Shit! You’ve got to get cracking on it.
But being the awesome person you are, you complete it within the hour and you give yourself a huge pat on the back.
Aaaannnd….you’ve just fallen prey to Parkinson’s Law, described best as the law in which “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.
We’ve all experienced the two extreme sides to this law throughout our life;
When you have too much time to finish a task, so you slack off, don't even give it any thought until the last moment when it becomes super urgent. Sometimes causing stress, anxiety and disorganisation...but you end up finishing it.
The deadline is SO impossible but you become super-crazy-productive and end up getting shit done, just in time.
It’s an interesting law that I continue to ask myself and the team whether the deadline we’ve set for ourselves is “just right" - for me it means that the deadline errs on the side of building momentum, energy and excitement. I look at the “realistic” due date and I take away a few days...just to make things exciting ;)
How do you create deadlines for yourself? How do you create them for your team to keep them motivated and efficient?
"If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute to do."
Sheryl Thai, CEO
League of Extraordinary Women