Have you ever heard of Parkinson’s Law? It’s the adage that says work expands to fill the time allotted.
And Temporal Motivation Theory—have you heard of it? It says that time is a critical and motivational factor when it comes to getting things done efficiently.
So how does this apply to us?
What it means in plain English is, we tend to stretch things out if we feel we have an unlimited amount of time to complete them, but we work like mad to accomplish things if there’s a deadline.
In a world where we pile on project after project, we need great ways to organize ourselves to get things done. We look to tech and techniques for the “best” time management tools, but the fact is there isn’t one.
Every time management system and app has its strengths and weaknesses depending on the needs of the person using it.
That’s why we talk about so many different methods and tools for optimizing effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity at the Paperless Movement. Every tool is different, and so is every person. The only way to find out if a tool or system is the right fit is to explore all the options.
One method nearly everyone seems to use is the good old to-do list. We jot down everything we need to get done onto one neverending list.
A to-do list certainly helps get things out of your head, but it isn’t a good method for organizing and prioritizing tasks. We tend to focus on the quick wins on our to-do list, but quick wins aren’t always top priority items. This means we end up feeling like we’re getting things done even when we’re putting the most important things off.
An amazing way to turn those to-dos into all-dones is with a method called timeboxing.