There’s Nothing Like a Deadline to Get the Job Done!

The run up to Christmas always demonstrates how much we can get done when we have a deadline. It’s a bit like when we’re about to head off on holiday and we’re amazed about the amount of work that we can get done when we put our heads down and get to work.

There’s nothing like a deadline to get the job done!

So this makes you think about how important setting a deadline is in the first place. If we did this more often with tasks, then we could get more done in a shorter amount of time, leaving us with more free time to do the things that we want to do.

Work will always fill up our time if left to its own devices.

Parkinson’s Law states that a task will fill the amount of time that you allocate for it. We’ve all experienced this phenomena, right? Where we set to work on a task to complete and it takes a full day (and we just about squeeze it in) then later on that week, we have a bigger task and less time (say a morning) yet we still get this task done. How did that happen…?

Errr, it’s in the deadline.

Whatever time you allocate (assuming that you allocate any time at all…?) then the task will invariably fill it. On the flip side, if you had set up say a couple of hours to get a task done, you would more than likely get it done entirely or at least get the majority of it done within that two hour time frame – as opposed to perhaps a full day or even longer if you let it have an open end.

Maybe that should be our New Year’s resolution –  to set deadlines (hard meaningful deadlines) for every task and to get it scheduled in our calendar with a set amount of time to complete it. We can then have more time to enjoy the finer things in life (but just don’t set a time-limit on those things ;)).

4 tips to your most productive working week

We’re in the run up to Christmas (plus its the start of the week) so its important that we can squeeze every last second of productivity out of our remaining working time. Here are 4 tips that just might help:

    Focus on your No.1 priority (clue: not Facebook) mousepad
  1. Focus on the 2 or 3 things that really matter. Take a second look at your ‘to-do list’. How much of it really matters and / or are you the right person to be doing much of it? Can you delegate more or simply strike it off the list? Be brave.
  2. Get your head out of your email inbox. Designate specific time to checking email every day but stick to this plan. Don’t be reactive and respond as soon as email arrives. Be in control of your time and task priority. Stick to this plan all week.
  3. Confirm whether you really need all of those internal meetings scheduled in your calendar. Can the issues be solved beforehand by circulating a brief agenda inviting comments? – also rather than clutter yours and others’ inbox further with agendas etc, consider using online tools like Yammer for discussion. Experiment with this.
  4. Clear your desk. Cluttered desk = Cluttered mind. Sweep all printed paper into the recycling – if you need it, you can reprint it (chances are you’ll never need to). You’ll feel much better for it.

Are there any productivity tips that you can share to help us improve our focus on key business needs and avoid distraction?