Setting Deadlines for "Now" Can Help You Finish Projects On Time

When setting a deadline for yourself or others, setting it in the "present" increases the likelihood that the project will be completed on time. 

When setting a deadline for yourself or others, setting it in the "present" increases the likelihood that the project will be completed on time. For example, a deadline of "this Friday" is more in the present than "next Monday." And while the difference is only a couple days, the conceptual difference to our minds is much larger, say researchers at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.


In an experiment, the researchers incentivized 295 farmers in India to open a bank account by promising to match 20% of their initial deposit. To set a timeframe on the opportunity, one group of famers was given a deadline within the current calendar year while the other was given a deadline in the following year, though just a month later. Surprisingly, seven times as many farmers opened the account when the deadline was more "in the present".

So next time you're having trouble finishing a project, you may consider moving the deadline ahead on the calendar. 

Read more at Pacific Standard

Photo credit: Shutterstock

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less
Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Do human beings have a magnetic sense? Biologists know other animals do. They think it helps creatures including bees, turtles and birds navigate through the world.

Keep reading Show less

Harvard: Men who can do 40 pushups have a 'significantly' lower risk of heart disease

Turns out pushups are more telling than treadmill tests when it comes to cardiovascular health.

Airman 1st Class Justin Baker completes another push-up during the First Sergeants' push-up a-thon June 28, 2011, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Participants were allowed 10 minutes to do as many push-ups as they could during the fundraiser. Airman Baker, a contract specialist assigned to the 354th Contracting Squadron, completed 278 push-ups. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Janine Thibault)
Surprising Science
  • Men who can perform 40 pushups in one minute are 96 percent less likely to have cardiovascular disease than those who do less than 10.
  • The Harvard study focused on over 1,100 firefighters with a median age of 39.
  • The exact results might not be applicable to men of other age groups or to women, researchers warn.
Keep reading Show less

U.S. reacts to New Zealand's gun ban

On Thursday, New Zealand moved to ban an array of semi-automatic guns and firearms components following a mass shooting that killed 50 people.

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Gun control supporters are pointing to the ban as an example of swift, decisive action that the U.S. desperately needs.
  • Others note the inherent differences between the two nations, arguing that it is a good thing that it is relatively hard to pass such legislation in such a short timeframe.
  • The ban will surely shape future conversations about gun control in the U.S.
Keep reading Show less