14 May 2006

Less time is more time

I have learnt this important lesson over the past few months.

Ironically I think that people perform better when they are short on time, as compared to when they have a relaxed and elastic deadline. I have no doubt that this is Parkinson’s Law in full force.

When you are not under any immediate pressure to get a job done, you are likely to keep postponing it. In the end it does not matter if you have six months or six days. The job will expand to take up the timeframe that is available for its completion.

The question is: how to procastinate procastination? I tried various means, and it seems that the best tactic that works for me is to give myself a very narrow deadline, and trick myself into getting a particular job done within that timeframe.

And also to take things one at a time. It is said that “When you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”, but I do not like meticulous planning because once I see the amount of work involved, it would really put me off and I would lose my interest. Instead I do what I call selective planning. I identify the things that needs to be done, but I would only take things one at a time. By splitting a problem into small chunks, the problem itself becomes small. This is called the top-down approach in software design, but let’s not go there…

Quote of the day:

When it comes to procastination, I do it right away.

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