Two P’s of productivity (ii)

If by some weird quirk of fate, you missed the first P, be sure to read it before this one. The Second P is called Parkinson’s law, colloquially known as student syndrome. Put simply, work expands to take the amount of time set aside to get it done. When was the last time you had to write a report? How long did it take? Chances are your report took as much time as you dedicated to get it done. If you set aside two hours, it took two hours. If you set aside two days, then it took two days.

A clock in front of a calendar
You have as long as you set yourself

Those A-tasks I mentioned last week are the tasks that add the most value to your goals. They are the tasks you should get done first before any other tasks. A task is more likely to get completed if it has a deadline attached to it. This is where you can use Parkinson’s law to your advantage. Simply setting a deadline to a task increases the likelihood of it getting done. Your business does not delay paying its taxes because if it takes too long, you have to pay a fine. In this example, not only does the task have a deadline but there is a penalty for missing that deadline. You wouldn’t find a more potent combination for making sure a task got done.

A calendar on April 15. The word tax deadline is written under it
Tax Collectors don’t accept excuses

The penalty for missing A-tasks is often an inability to achieve your goals. If you keep pushing A-tasks into the future, they eventually affect your bottomline. To prevent this, add a deadline to all tasks on your to-do list. Make sure the deadline is neither so far away that you get bored nor too close that you rush to complete the task and end up doing shoddy work.

To recap the two P’s:

  1. Start by identifying the tasks that add the most value to your goal everyday and do them first.
  2. Set a deadline to achieve those tasks you might drag your feet on.

Repeat daily. Let me know what you think of the two P’s.

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