Freelancing Survival Tip: Give Your Tasks a Deadline!

Tasks need deadlinesHave you ever had a day where you woke up late and had to be out the door in 40 minutes, when it usually takes you an hour to get ready each morning? I have and, to my surprise, I was out the door, completely ready, in 40 minutes. So why can’t I get ready in 40 minutes every morning? Simple: I don’t have to.

Parkinson’s Law

Parkinson’s law states that the time it takes to complete a task expands to fill the time available for its completion. If you have an hour to write a blog post, you will write that post in an hour; if you have three hours to write the same blog post, it will take you three hours.

Parkinson’s Law has been wreaking havoc with my time since I was a teenager. My mother gave me the solution — give yourself less time, then you’ll need less time. Of course, as a typical teenager, I figured she was completely nuts. But as I got older, and more strapped for time, I realized Mom was (once again) right.

Make Parkinson’s Law Work for You

Give yourself a deadline for a task — and give yourself slightly less time than it would normally take for you to complete it. Then schedule the next task right behind it. For example, say you have client work that normally takes two and a half hours (9:00 to 11:30), followed by checking and responding to e-mails and social media for an hour (11:30 to 12:30), then a half hour for lunch (12:30 to 1:00). Try scheduling two hours for client work (9:00 to 11:00) and 45 minutes for e-mail and social media (11:00 to 11:45). Then schedule a lunch date out. Trust me, you’ll get the work done. And you’ll have a nice lunch!

Try it for a week — then comment or e-mail me to let me know how much more you’re getting done.

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