A buddy of mine says, “If you wait ’til the last minute, it will only take a minute.”
I always thought this was a cute, pithy phrase. Last night I discovered its value.
We were taking Daughter trick-or-treating with her cousin at 6 PM. At 4 PM Husband and I decided to dress up for Halloween. They were simple costumes. Concocted from things around the house. Completely free. And very effective.
We waited until the last minute. And it only took a minute.
Fact: too much time to plan is detrimental to a project.
Two things can happen if you have too much time:
1) You forget about the project. If your deadline for a one-month project is in 15 months, it is logical to postpone the project for 14 months. Over those 14 months, though, you take on and conquer many other challenges. After 14 months, you’ve completely forgotten about the project.
2) You spend all your time working on it. Consider the same one-month project, due in 15 months. If it’s an enjoyable project, or an important project, you are likely to start now. This is the perfect situation to get you into analysis paralysis. You might also get burned out on the project. In 12 months, you’ll be annoyed, burned out, and angry with it.
If this is a personal project, you spent many man-hours on it that you could’ve spent on other things. If this is a business project, you might’ve lost valuable profit margin because you’ve spent much more time than budgeted.
Myth: too little time to plan is detrimental to a project.
If your deadline for a one-month project is in two weeks, you will consider trashing the project. In reality, if you properly manage the next two weeks, you can get your one-month project done. Complete immersion is the key.
Take on the project with a dedication and fervor exceeding what you normally have. As Milo McLaughlin writes, if you want to get to the finish line quicker, “pick up your tortoise, and run with it.” Ignore everything else (except the bare essentials, of course) and git’r done!
I saw this in action last week. A friend of mine had forgotten about a project because the deadline was too far out. She enlisted some help at work and completed the project in record time.
You might be able to simulate or schedule last minute preparation to be most efficient. Allow yourself to “forget about the project” by planning appropriate last-minute time for it. This will allow you to immerse yourself for the right amount of time. You will spend less time planning, and more time doing.
Did I miss anything? Let’s discuss it in the comments.