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Does time pressure to get something done make you better or worse?

Back in high school I thought I'd get much better results when writing term papers or doing big projects if I waited until the night before they were due, cramming under pressure to produce.

I produced all sorts of sh*tty product and somehow graduated with this strategy. Sadly this is not a great strategy because tightening time constraints too tight simply doesn't allow enough time to do the work required for excellence.

Building a house is a great example. Does it need to take 5 years to build a 2000 square foot track house in most major metropolitan cities in America? (California and New York excluded)

No, but reasonably it takes at least a few months in most cases. If you used my childhood old strategy and waited to start building the house on Thursday with a Friday delivery - you'd produce something that at best would fall over if someone sneezed. (forget about Ty Pennington's show where he magically builds a house in a single 1 hour episode).

Alternatively you could have a 5 year plan and Parkinsons Law would guarantee you'd spend pretty much the whole 5 years building this thing. See this all the time when people say, I'll have X done in a week. Said thing normally takes minutes to hours and could be done that day but somehow Parkinson always jumps in and a week goes by, wasted.

Things take as long as we allow...

Peter Thiel wrote an incredible book called Zero to One and talks about compressing goal and planning timelines from years to a year or less. His contention is that things in todays world are changing too fast for any type of 3-5 year rational planning. In Technology that's true and technology is tied to almost everything these days, especially with AI meshing into everything (including an option to rewrite this article using it!)I think he's right, that you have to think about your plan and how you're going to do it in the next 6-12 months but not in the next 6-12 days. There are steps in the next 6-12 days but there's a 100% chance of ugly when you wait until the last minute to produce instead of allowing some kind of "rational" period of time to get the job done.

Same goes for investing, if you say "I'm new and want to retire in 6 months using the $100k or even the $1 million I have." My answer is you'll learn a whole lot about losing over the next 6 months but won't be retired because you're trying to force the issue and aren't allowing the universe to conspire with you. It's also called being impatient :-)

In conclusion as long as you break your BIG goal into micro goals you can put incredible pressure on yourself and your team to produce and get great results because the actual output is reasonable within tight timeframes. Allow the forces of nature to work with you, not against you and enjoy a version of life without the weight of the world on your neck.


Damion Lupo

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