Time Pressure Proves to Work Wonders in Productivity


Time pressure is generally something people try to avoid because it gives us an unpleasant feeling. Yet it is believed to be one of the key forces that make us finish work. And not just that, it also does not seem to affect the quality of the work.
Time pressure usually occurs when someone procrastinates a work on and on: It just never gets done. At some point though the procrastinator will get an unpleasant feeling suggesting he should start to get work done soon because otherwise the deadline might come too soon. It is exactly in that moment that people get very productive. The results might seem a little stressed if there really is no time to correct anymore, but if the unpleasant feeling kicks in the right moment, then the results might even be better than if the work had been prepared days in advance. I suggest you grab some of great personalised diaries from Toad which are really impressive if you want to be more organized.

This phenomenon raises a simple question: Why can people still be very good at what they are doing even though they are under an intense time pressure? The answer is just as simple: Because our brain goes into overdrive-mode. Think of our brain as a computer: You could either let an image render at 50% speed and take 2 hours, or you could overclock to a speed of 200% and render the image in 30 minutes. The result will be same, with just a tiny little difference: After doing work under an extreme time pressure the brain will need to regenerate: It will not work at a constant speed unless the speed is rather slow.

On the other hand, too much time pressure can also be dangerous. Being stressed out after an intense time working can lead to hours or even days of no energy. If one overdoes this technique, it might save you a lot of time at first, but in the long run it will ruin your work-process. Additionally, the brain might “malfunction” during intense working periods, delivering only bad results: Bad results cannot be used, thus energy has been invested for nothing.

The best tactics would be to pressurize yourself even though there is still time left. This way, if errors occur, they can still be corrected and the brain will have time to regenerate till the next period of work. A very useful tool to achieve such results is usually always around us: A simple clock. Set deadlines, even if it’s just 15 minutes. In those 15 minutes work as hard as you can and only take it easy afterwards.

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