Why are we always shocked out of productivity paralysis and into overdrive whenever a deadline suddenly becomes imminent? The answer has a lot to do with Parkinson’s Law. Proposed in 1955 by the UK political analyst and historian Cyril Northcote Parkinson, the titular law observes that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Joel Runyon, author and Impossible Ventures owner, suggests multiple ways to impose artificial constraints on our time, including:
- Work without your computer charger. Force yourself to get stuff done before your computer runs out of battery.
- Does your coffee shop close at a certain time? If so, force yourself to stop working when it closes. I
- Instead of trying to write 1,000 words in a day, run x miles in a day, or go to the gym, make a rule to do XYZ before 10am. Get it done early and then let yourself coast. You’ll be surprised at how much this frees up the rest of your day.
By finding everyday ways to artificially restrict your time throughout the day, you force yourself to muster the energy and attention needed to get things done.