Just Seven Things

Exploring why and how we do what we do, and how we can do it better

Time Management and Satisficing

Massage by Steve Woods

Massage by Steve Woods

Satisficing is defined as ‘a decision-making strategy which attempts to meet criteria for adequacy, rather than to identify an optimal solution’ – Wikipedia. It is a blend of words: satisfy and suffice.

Most tasks tend to expand to fill the time that we give to do them.

I started thinking about whether satisficing could help explain why it is sometimes possible to create some great work in the 30 minutes before a deadline and yet produce a similar quality (if more long-winded) product if you’ve given yourself a day to do it.

I wrote about whether I create these time bound situations myself to thrive better under stress. Now I wonder whether satisficing is the flip side of this. That of producing something that satisfies and is sufficient for the time given.

So when you are disorganised you satisfice for the time you ‘bounce’ into. Whatever time you have left to fulfill the boss’s request, complete the form or get the paper in. Give too little time, you get something that is sufficient for that time. Give too much time, and you still only apply the time sufficient to satisfy the requirements for the task. The extra time is squandered in procrastination or distraction.

All completely speculative and I’m sure I’d be shot-down with a psychological/ academic analysis… but it feels like there is something in it.

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