And The Oscar Goes To…Time Management?

Time Management OscarOh, The Oscars. That yearly tradition when many of us sit down to see our favorite movie stars, then collectively look at our watches around 9:30pm, realize we’re 3 hours into the show, the “good” awards haven’t even started, and we all have to work in the morning. We may groan at the lengthy Oscar telecast, but don’t we all have tasks in our lives that seem to go on far too long? Follow these three tips to keep your lengthy tasks in check.

Give Yourself Deadlines

Many people contribute to the success of a film, and the directors of the Academy Awards know, if given the time, actors will thank each and every one of them. Just like award winners have time limits on their acceptance speeches, you must give yourself deadlines for your tasks.  According to Parkinson’s Law, work expands to fill the time we give it. If you give yourself a week to finish something, it will take a week. If you give yourself a day, it will take a day. There will always be “one more thing” that can be done, just like there will always be one more person to thank, but at some point, it just needs to be finished.

Leave A Buffer

If you plan for everything in your day to go perfectly, well, you’re likely to be disappointed! Sometimes things take longer than they should. Mistakes happen, we hit a wall, we have a technology mishap, etc…Setting your own deadline a few days before the real one creates a valuable “buffer zone” to plan for these things. After all, when Ben Affleck gets snubbed for best director, and then ends up on stage anyway, you just let him talk. As long as he wants to. Make up the time somewhere else.


One of the easiest ways to instantly make your work take longer is to lose your focus. Constantly checking your email, sneaking a peak at Facebook, looking at all the other tasks still waiting on your to-do list –– all these things distract us from our primary objective: finish the task at hand as efficiently as possible. We lose all hope that the Oscars will be anywhere close to three hours when they start showing seemingly un-related musical numbers and the presenters start deviating from the script. Focus, people, focus!

By forcing yourself to focus and get your work done efficiently, you’ll find that some of your most dreaded tasks really don’t take as long as you once  thought. You’ll spend that extra time thanking yourself for having the discipline to stick to your schedule…and of course, thanking The Academy.

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