A task always takes as much time as you assign to it

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Have you ever noticed that you usually don’t finish a task until the deadline, no matter how much time you have? If we have too much time, we usually postpone the task until the pressure is great enough to finally act (I’m just saying: tax return). On the other hand, have you experienced that a task that is actually too little time for (e.g. because you remember one day before the deadline that the task has not even been started) is then especially done well and it was exciting too?

This is because the time pressure makes you much more pragmatic, you can’t afford distractions and dead ends, and you focus completely on getting the job done. When I was working at the university, I often told my diploma theses students who struggled to get their work done: “You don’t need more time, you need a deadline.” And most of them proved me right after that – and agreed on it themselves.

So keep the time for your tasks to a challenging minimum. So much so that it is just barely possible to get it done without any fuss. You don’t know how creative you can get in such a moment. Of course, you shouldn’t do this all the time, because it also means stress. But don’t say: “In the next two weeks I’ll take care of my company logo” but rather: “Tonight at 8:00 p.m. I’ll take two hours to develop an idea for a company logo, look at three suppliers and commission my favorite to do a design”. Or “This weekend I’m going to approach fifty people on the street to get feedback on my business idea.”

6 Comments

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