A Life of Productivity tip #1: schedule less time for important tasks

Today’s tip from A Life of Productivity: ‘spend less time on important tasks’.

This is another bit of advice from Chris Bailey’s really insightful article about the month he spent working 90-hour weeks:

Throwing more time at your tasks is the exact wrong way to get more done. A much more productive strategy? Throw more energy at your tasks.

My favorite way to do this is to dedicate less time to what I have to do.

An interesting thing happens when you dedicate less time to what you have to do. The less time you schedule to complete a task, the more you push yourself to expend more energy over less time so you can get it done. Conversely, when you schedule more time to complete a task, you give yourself more room to slack off and procrastinate.

Because this is about procrastination, naturally I have an example:

I have a friend coming to stay later today, and my mother is staying tomorrow. I’ve known this for, oh, at least a month, and so – given the frankly alarming state of my flat – getting the place cleaned up has been a priority for all that time.

Have I spent the last month cleaning my flat? Bitch please. But with two hours left before my first guest arrived, I had no choice but to get on with it. And what do you know – a surprising number of the things I was planning to do over the course of a month turned out to be doable in two hours.

This isn’t a reason to leave everything until the last minute – that way lies a high stress level – but it does suggest you can get a lot more done if you give yourself a tight deadline and stick to it.

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