Find a Container

This is an extension of Parkinson's Law which you may be familiar with. It goes:

"Work expands to fill the time allotted"

which hits you right in the gut. Yep. Things take me way longer than they should. And they take much less time when there's a presentation due tomorrow. When there's a hard deadline, my effectiveness goes through the ROOF. 

The wisdom then is to first and foremost take the action of allotting a time to the task at hand. That way we can shove the task into that span of time, the span that we just allotted. We've drawn a finish line and we can see how much further we have to go.

With that behind us, we can commence the second insight of Parkson: By allotting increasingly less time  to complete the task, the task will take increasingly less time to be completed.

But everyone knows that there's a limit to how small you can compress a thing. That's just nature.  The 5 hour work session can be allotted to 3 hours and optimized down to 2 hours, but that's as small as it can get. 

My variation is that this time compression limit is impossible to find for creative work. Finding the limit relies on the ability to conduct the same task many times in a row, to find the fat and trim it off.

The remedy for this is to Find a Container. Instead of allotting Time like old Parkson said to do, allot a Container that you can observe to see whether or not it has filled up.

What's a container? It's a book or a poem or a song or 5 minutes of stand-up or an instagram post or an email. It's a bucket, i.e. a form that can carry ideas outside of your brain. 

If you're chewing on an idea, like time management, you can chew on it forever. Come up with lots of metaphors. Pick it apart, put it back together.  And you'll never run out of thread. But it won't ever leave your head. 

Find a physical bucket to pour the creative idea into! If it has to fit into an instagram post, then you know how much raw idea material you need to bake the cake.  Even an author has a container - a book! It takes a lot of raw material to create a 200 page book, but it's not infinity. 

Infinity is a sink. When you don't pour your creative energy into a container, the energy just goes down the infinity drain.