In a productive, well-ordered life two elements must be managed: time and work. Poor time-managers fail to recognize the difference between the two elements: Work is infinite; time is finite. Therefore, you must manage your time, not your work. Work expands to fill whatever time is allotted to it. If your work is successful, it generates more work; as a result, the concept of “finishing your work” is a contradiction in terms so blatant and so dangerous that it can lead to nervous breakdowns—because it puts the pressures on the wrong places in your mind and habits. Time, on the other hand, is finite, though there’s much more of it available than people who manage it poorly think. The real problem is that we don’t have enough disciplined energy to use all the time that’s given to us.
Instead of trying to finish your work, you need merely find time to do your work; then simply concentrate on doing it the best you can. The satisfaction will come from knowing that each day you’ve allotted time for the work you love, the work you want to do.
From Kenneth Atchity, A Writer’s Time: Making the Time to Write (1995).