Have you ever found yourself creating a to-do list and thinking to yourself, “Oh, that will take me half an hour, that will take me an hour, this task will take me two hours, and this task will take me two hours.”? You tell yourself that you need 5.5 hours to complete all the tasks. Then, by the end of the 5.5 hours, you realize you have, maybe, two of the tasks completed. You think to yourself, “What is wrong with me?” You realize you need more time.
Then you dive into some negative self-talk. You say things like, “Why can’t I get that done? I should have had that done by now.” Here’s the thing, you are not the problem. It’s not the work you’re doing if you’re focusing on it while using Parkinson’s Law. It’s not what you are doing that is fully creating that monster of not getting all the work done.
The issue is you are not giving yourself enough time.
Parkinson’s law means that tasks and projects take as long as you give them. However, sometimes we try to cram that massive project into a tight little space of time, and that is impossible. It is not going to work. Let’s look at writing a book. One cannot write a 50,000-word book in 30 minutes. That is impossible. Take it from someone who has written multiple courses. It took months to do so.
One of my time magic tricks is to allow more time per task in my daily schedule. When you are creating your schedule for the day, the week, the month, or even working on your goals and deadlines and you think to yourself, “Okay, I know that task, it will take me an hour.” Give yourself an hour and a half. This gives you wiggle room to allow for any hiccups or ’emergencies’ that may come your way. It will also help you not to overbook your schedule daily. Whatever timeline you give a certain task or a project, you can tell yourself, okay, that needs 50% more time.
When Does This Not Work?
The only time this doesn’t work is if you are up against a hardcore deadline. With a deadline, you need to work backwards. For example, if I think cleaning my house before company comes will take 10 minutes, I better give myself 15 minutes. Another method to work this idea with a deadline is as follows. Let’s say your deadline is Tuesday at 5:00 pm and you know you can get that item done in two hours. Then make your true deadline Monday at 5:00 pm and give yourself three hours to get the project completed on Monday. This way, you never feel the huge crunch, the stress and anxiety that can come with procrastinating.
Using this method when scheduling will help you not to feel like you are inadequate because a task took longer than it was supposed to. In one of my businesses, I know precisely how long specific projects take, but I still add time to every project. I no longer add 50% more time as I did in the beginning. I now add about 10% to 15% more time because, after a lot of practice, I have this down to a science. This is a way for you to cheerlead yourself on in your time management. You will begin to feel amazing about your schedule because you will no longer be falling behind.
Here’s the thing, if you schedule 50% more time then the amount of time you thought a project was going to take, chances are at the end of the day you are going to have everything done. You are going to look at yourself and say, “Oh my gosh, I have extra time. How did that happen?” It happened because instead of booking everything back to back to back to back with certain time slots or the certain timeframes allowed for it, you gave yourself a little more wiggle room.
Some Perspective for You.
Here’s an example: You go to an event or conference and they give you an itinerary that shows you all the happenings for the day:
9:00 am we are doing this.
9:15 am we are doing this.
10:00 am we are doing this.
…all the way down to 5:00 pm.
If they haven’t put in wiggle room for every single item on their agenda, they are going to go over schedule. The event organizers are not thinking about how long it takes speakers to get off and on the stage, and then there are refresh periods between speakers. There are all these different elements one has to think about when building a conference itinerary. It’s not that someone can start speaking at 9:15 am, finish at 10:00 am, and the next speaker starts speaking at right at 10:00 am. That doesn’t happen because you have to have a transition period. Transitions are important when it comes to time management.
Your Daily Schedule is Like a Conference Itinerary
Think of your life, your daily schedule as a conference itinerary. Give yourself some extra time for every task that you’re building on that day, and yes, you might get to a point where you think “will I get to go to bed tonight?” or “if I do that, I can’t fit these other things in.” Nope, you can’t, and that is where you have to use my ABC time management method to figure out exactly what items are most important versus items that are not important at all.
Your life is an itinerary and you have to give your self-time to pee, to eat during the day, to talk on the phone and to answer emails. You must understand that you may think a project is going to take X amount of time, but things are going to show up that you’re not expecting, which will put you behind. When you are prepared for these ’emergencies,’ they will no longer be ’emergencies.’
Book that extra 50% now, and when you find that you are no longer using the full 50%, you can then lower it to 40%, then 30% and then 20%. Eventually, you can work your way to adding just an extra 10% to 15% of time.
Trust me; when I say using the 50% more-time method, you will become a master time magic magician!