An interesting new study by psychological scientist, Gabriela Jiga-Boy of Swansea University in Wales, explores the inter-relationship between our perception of time and the effort needed to complete a project. Does the difficulty of a task expand or compress our perception of time? The results? The researchers discovered that tasks that were judged to be complex and difficult, like planning a wedding or an elaborate vacation, but without specific deadlines, seemed more distant than less demanding activities. Their findings suggest that our minds correlate complexity and effort with time.
Conversely, tasks with specific deadlines, even as distant as eight months, were viewed as closer in time. So if you have multiple simultaneous and significant deadlines: getting a kid off to college for the first time, planning a family reunion, and organizing a company conference, while also working day-to-day, your stress may be that the way in which your mind camouflages the real time remaining to force you to plan for meeting the challenges on deadline.