The Importance of the Last Five Percent

time management emptyHow many almost-finished tasks do you have on your to-do list right now? For some reason, we tend to do all the difficult parts of a task and then leave the last details unfinished. Lucky for us, when WE do this, we don’t have millions of football fans watching us around the country. Watch what happened when Utah forgot one small detail at their game against Oregon this Saturday…

http://scores.espn.go.com/ncf/recap?gameId=400548304

In the video, you can see Utah almost score a touchdown, but the player drops the ball in celebration before he actually crosses the goal line. Oregon picks up the ball and runs 100 yards the other way for a touchdown.

Whoops…

Our almost-completed tasks may not be that public (or embarrassing) but they can really slow down our time management.

Why do we save the last 5% of tasks until the last minute?

1. We want it to be perfect. Keeping a task “not quite done” gives us the option to come back and fix something later to make it better.

2. We’re lazy. A large task might be intimidating enough to schedule it into our day, but once it’s become a small task, it’s easy to infinitely put it off until later.

3. We lose momentum. If we’re forced to stop a task before we’re done, sometimes it’s hard to get back into the groove of it to finish up.

This week, take a look at your to-do list. Do you have any tasks that are 95% finished? Make it your goal to see them through to completion…before someone else picks up the ball and gets the credit!

Speaking of college, check out “The Time Diet: Time Management for College Survival” for the high school or college student in your life! The holidays will be here soon and it makes a great stocking stuffer.

Time Management Book for Students

Time Management Book for Students

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Time Management Lessons from College Football

In the fall, the desire to watch college football all day long on Saturday really challenges my time management. Sitting in front of the TV, sporting my jersey and eating hot wings sounds so much more appealing than grading projects for class. However, yesterday I realized that we can actually learn a lot about time management by watching college football.

4 Time Management Lessons on the Football Field

1. Don’t Risk a “Delay of Game”
It may be tempting to wait until the last second to run a play, but if you wait too long, you’ll be charged a 5-yard “delay of game” penalty. With our work, we may have our reasons to procrastinate, but is it worth the risks if our deadline’s “play clock” runs out?

2. Play All Four Quarters
How many games have you watched where the team looks great in either the first or fourth quarter, but ends up losing because they played poorly the rest of the game? The same is true for our work. We need to spread out our energy. Push too hard in the beginning and you’ll burn out. Save it all for the end and it’ll be too little too late. Pace yourself, find your rhythm and ride that momentum in for the win.

3. You Can’t Always Wait for Perfection
If the quarterback doesn’t immediately see an open receiver, he has to quickly make the decision to either run the ball or throw it away, lest he get sacked behind the line of scrimmage waiting for the perfect pass to open up. When we are working, there comes a point when trying for perfection becomes a waste of time. If you consistently miss deadlines for your boss because you were striving for an unattainable level of perfection, you may find yourself being “sacked” as well!

4. Make Time for Motivation
Do you think football coaches spend every single second they have with their team running plays? Of course not. Coaches recognize that their players need inspiration and make team building and motivation part of the locker room experience on game day. Make time for your own motivation. Take time to connect with your “team.” It will make your work time infinitely more enjoyable and productive.

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Picture Credit: Ron Almog