Brian Tracy refers to “The Law of Forced Efficiency.”
Parkinson’s Law states that “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”
I think of it as The Deadline Effect.
The best illustration is what happens to our productivity the day or the week before holidays. It takes off!
I once went on holidays and read a book about this issue. I thought back to why I’d accomplished so much the week before:
- No busy work/administrivia
- Rigorous prioritization (If it wasn’t truly urgent and important, it wasn’t touched)
- A “good enough” mindset (My latent perfectionism was pushed aside)
- Moving physically faster (This was a bit of a surprise discovery, but makes a huge difference)
Some people argue that deadlines and urgency kill creativity. I’m not convinced.
But I do know that a lack of deadlines means that many projects will never be completed. So who cares how creative it is? No one will see it anyway.
Would you rather write a book, paint a painting, compose a score that is incredibly unique and creative- and only 80% done, or finish that same book/painting/song with a slightly lower level of “creativity,” however that is quantified?
I’ve learned as a writer that books aren’t written, they’re rewritten. The bottleneck is getting that first draft done. And once the first draft is done, I must have a deadline where the project will be completed otherwise I can tweak it and improve it forever.
There’s something about the way we’re wired that requires deadlines if we’re going to get important things done.
So either we need to go on holidays every other week, or we need to inject solid deadlines into our work.