Today, my friend and former colleague Stephanie wrote a great, brief article on productivity, procrastination, and burnout for SuperYesMore entitled “The Law of Reversed Effort.”
I tend to approach all tasks in life exactly as Stephanie describes the simple act of walking across a plank of wood on the ground.
[S]ay I put a long sturdy plank of wood on the ground in front of you and asked you to walk across it. You’d tell me “no problem” as you scurried along it. It’s such a simple task.
Let’s say I need 5 hours to accomplish something in our house. Anything. Blog writing. Exercising. Room cleaning.
I look at that personal work effort like it’s a plank of wood I have to step across. If the board is five times the length of my stride, I need to take five steps. If the work I want to do is 5 hours worth of work effort because that’s how fast I can type, exercise, or clean, I find 5 hours over the span of my week where I can accomplish said thing.
I starting thinking about the thing as already being completed if not for the formality of spending the actual 5 hours of work effort.
That’s not always the case, because work effort does not always equal work duration.
In a professional project management sense, that’s tends to result from a constraint on the schedule of the resource which puts in the effort. If you only have access to the designer on your project for an hour each day, it will take 5 days to do 5 hours of work. The work effort is 5 hours, but the work duration is 5 days.
However, let’s say your designer is available all day, every day. That 5 hours of work can be done in the next 5 hours starting at this very second, right? [Read more…] about work duration vs. work effort, and walking the (productivity) plank