What is Parkinson’s Law? According to Wikipedia: Articulated by Cyril Northcote Parkinson, it means “Work EXPANDS so as to FILL the Time AVAILABLE for its COMPLETION” while humorous, it is also painfully true.
If you have 3 hours to finish an Examination, how long would it take you to finish writing the exam? 3 hours If you have 2 months to complete a work project, how long would it take you? Exactly 2 months. However, the same examination, if you are only allowed 1 hour to finish, You’d probably get it done in 1 hour. Same for most tasks that we handle every day. Is it because we procrastinate? Is it because we are lazy? Well, maybe, truth is, no one really knows. It’s a phenomenon that seems to exist in human kind. During my school days, I often find myself finishing a 2-hour exam in 30 minutes, then sit around and going through every answer, comtemplating whether I have the right answers. More often than not, if I make changes to my first answer, those comes out wrong. The more time I have to comb through my work, the more I try to fix it, the worse the outcome. Overcoming Parkinson’s Law will likely save you tons of time.
Dinner at 6? It used to take you all the way to 6 to finish preparing dinner. Arbitrary time limits are limiting our daily productivity. We manage time based on how much time is alloted to a task, not how much time it TAKES to complete a task.
How do we get over it? Track your daily tasks and see how long it takes you to complete it. Next, cut that time down in half. Repeat the same task the next day. Let’s see how this goes. Happy Weekend.