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. Did the difficulty of a task expand or compress our perception of time? The results? They 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: filing income taxes, planning a family reunion over spring break, and organizing a college graduation, while also running your day-to-day business, your stress may be that the way in which our minds truncate the real time remaining to the complete the tasks in order to force us to plan to meet the challenges on deadline.