Invent Deadlines

To get stuff done

David Byttow
1 min readAug 4, 2020

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Parkinson’s Law is the old adage that work expands to fill the time available for its completion.

It’s not difficult to observe this effect in our own lives. Whether you’re planning a wedding or working on a software project, these activities always tend to grow more complex given the amount of time allotted.

Similarly, there’s another phrase: “If you want to get something done quickly, give it to a busy person.”

In other words, a busy person has less available time by definition and therefore is more likely to have time constraints requiring the task to be completed in a shorter amount of time.

Using the above phenomenon to your advantage is simple, just invent early deadlines for all of your projects.

For example, let’s say I have a week in which to create a small game from scratch (which is something I often do). Without fail, the I’ll do more work than anticipated and end up stressing and cutting corners at the last minute to finish it. Instead, I’ve learned to convince myself that the deadline is in four (not seven) days, and to act accordingly.

When I stick to arbitrary deadlines, I find myself cutting fewer corners and shipping a more polished product.

(This post was cross-posted from Substack: https://simplethings.substack.com/p/invent-deadlines)

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David Byttow

Engineer by trade, artist at heart