Have you ever asked yourself why it took the entire week to complete inputting the numbers in the file when in reality it could have been completed in two and a half days? We are often given cushy deadlines by supervisors — and while the first few weeks on the job employees vow to be as efficient and quick as possible, as time moves forward procrastination kicks in and focus is broken.
If you were under a tight deadline by a client to complete something that would normally take you three or four days, you would be forced to complete the project according to the client’s time frame.
While constant stress and pressure is unhealthy, is it possible to push ourselves to be more productive by eliminating deadlines in the workplace? If you were forced to finish projects on an as-soon-as-possible basis as opposed to a concrete deadline, would you spend part of your day browsing the web, hanging out at the water cooler or on the phone with your loved one? How is it possible to encourage employees to increase their efficiency after taking away deadlines?
A recent article in Bitesize Bio states a very interesting quote about modern Parkinson’s Law. “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” According to the article, Parkinson’s Law expects that if you give yourself five hours to finish a task, you will take up the entire five hours even if it can actually be completed in three hours.
Instead of giving employees the chance to lose focus and procrastinate, try shying away from concrete deadlines and instead encourage them to complete as many tasks as they can efficiently and quickly. Without forgoing quality, feeling a bit more under pressure on a daily basis will force workers to complete more tasks than they normally would. They will not necessarily have a certain amount of tasks everyday, but they will be forced to spend every minute at work completing a project because it needs to be sent out right away, instead of four days later.
Deadlines do not matter as much in today’s workplace because workers today are juggling dozens of different things at once. They are never able to say they have completed all their tasks because there is always something else that needs attention. An employee is only done when they are physically incapable of working for the day and start where they left off the next. Instead of a list of tasks that need to be completed by a certain date, companies should encourage workers to complete projects on a more regular and ongoing basis.
By eliminating distractions and constantly having work that needs to be completed right away, employees will accomplish more tasks and learn how to be more efficient. There will be less time to lose focus and more time can be spent improving projects. They will be able to create goals based on quality of projects and not on times and dates.
Do you think your workplace would survive without deadlines?