Posted in Lessons....

Work expands to fill time available

The first thing that comes to my mind when someone talks about time is the Mahabharata dialogue “Main samay hu..” Its weird… Or maybe I am weird…

Anyway, that’s not why I am writing this post. I had a really great training that I attended this week in office. It was about Basic Leadership Skills. There were a lot of important messages that the trainer conveyed and I found a few of them true. I have just picked up one message of the training program here. I’ll probably tell you more about the session in another post.

Work expands to fill the time available. I am sure all of us have experienced this in our professional as well as personal lives. If I have some work which might not take more than 2 hours, we invariably estimate 3-4 hours for it saying buffer time is required. And then the work automatically stretches for 4 hours. That’s because in our mind we know that we have said we’ll require 4 hours for it so subconsciously we will do some form of time pass while working. Our mind will start thinking about what would we do after going home from office or over the weekend. Else we move to our most favourite topic – what happened in the past and how we want our future to be. So the concentration on work reduces. As my trainer told, body and mind are not at the same place, so you are not happy with the work you are doing. That results in low output. So you see it’s a whole vicious cycle.

Now take an example from your personal life. Its weekend, I have to go and buy certain things from a shop 2 mins walking distance from your house which closes at 5pm. What do I do?? I look at the time, say its only 10am, the shop is just opened, let me go in some time. Then I get busy playing a game or cooking. I remember while making chapatis that I have to go, but decide that I’ll go once I finish making chapatis. Once I finish cooking, now I have to do something else, then something else. Once work starts it doesn’t stop. By the time I remember again its 3pm. I decide to go but its raining now.. How do I go in rains? Anyways the shop is just nearby I’ll go as soon as the rain stops. Then I’ll either sleep or watch movie. When I have just started the movie, I keep reminding myself that I have to go out but I get engrossed in watching the movie and. By the time I remember it’s either too late or JIT.. The same thing if I had spent 5 mins in the morning I would have been able to complete even this task. And still would have been able to do all that I did otherwise. My mind wouldn’t have wandered to this task again and again.

So basically, we work as fast or as slow as the pressure on us is. Or on how our mind perceives the pressure to be.

Next time you have some work, think about this and then decide if its possible to do the same in less time and without it being in your mind throughout the day.

I promise.. I’ll not be writing about such serious topics always.

Until next time… Adiós!!


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