The Law of Forced Efficiency
This law says that, “There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.”
You Always Find the Time
When you run out of time and the consequences for non-completion of a key task or project can be really serious, you always seem to find the time to get it done, often at the very last minute. You start early, you stay late and you drive yourself to complete the job rather than to face the negative consequences that would follow if you didn’t get it completed within the time limit.
Rule: “There will never be enough time to do everything you have to do.”
You Are Already Overwhelmed
The fact is that the average person today is working at 110% to 130% of capacity. And the jobs and responsibilities just keep piling up. Everyone has stacks of reading material they still have to go through. One study concluded recently that the average executive has 300-400 hours of reading and projects backlogged at home and at the office.
What this means is that you will never be caught up. Get that out of your mind. All you can hope for is to be on top of your most important responsibilities. The others will just have to wait.
Deadlines Can Be Counterproductive
Many people say that they work better under the pressure of deadlines. Unfortunately, years of research indicate that this is seldom true.
Under the pressure of deadlines, often self-created through procrastination and delay, people suffer greater stress, make more mistakes, and have to do redo more tasks, than under any other conditions. Often the mistakes that are made when people are working under tight deadlines lead to defects and cost overruns that lead to substantial financial losses in the long-term. Sometimes the job actually takes much longer to complete when people rush to get the job done at the last minute and then have to redo it.
The Key Question You Should Ask
The key question you can ask is: “What is the most valuable use of my time, right now?”
This is the core question of time management. This is the key to overcoming procrastination and becoming a highly productive person. Every hour of every day, there is an answer to this question. Your job is to ask yourself the question, over and over again, and to always be working on the answer to it, whatever it is.
Do first things first and second things not at all. As Goethe said, “The things that matter most must never be at the mercy of the things that matter least.”
The more accurate your answers to this question, the easier it will be for you to set clear priorities, to overcome procrastination and to get started on that one activity that represents the most valuable use of your time.
Take a few minutes each day and sit quietly where you cannot be disturbed. During this time, let your mind relax and just think about your work and activities, without stress or pressure.
In almost every case, during this time of solitude, you will receive wonderful insights and ideas that will save you enormous amounts of time when you apply them back on the job. Often you will experience breakthroughs that will change the direction of your life and work.
About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.