Are you struggling to find the motivation to start a project? Maybe you’ve started but It’s taking infinitely longer than you had imagined. I’m guessing you’ve come here to learn how to boost your productivity, look no further! Parkinson’s Law will explain it all.
What Is Parkinson’s Law?
Parkinson’s Law is essentially the concept that work expands to fill the time allocated to it. The concept was thought up by Cyril Northcote Parkinson, a British historian, author, and civil servant. The idea was first discussed in an essay for the Economist he wrote in 1955.
Here’s an everyday example of how Parkinson’s Law works. You decide that you will allocate one entire day to studying for an upcoming exam. Now, this would be an impressive amount of time to spend studying, however, the problem is that you end up spending most of the day scrolling through various social media platforms and watching YouTube videos instead of studying.
Realistically, studying for this exam would have taken only a few hours but since you knew that you had more time up your sleeve you ended up spending your valuable time doing absolutely nothing instead. The task, therefore, became prolonged and ended up filling the entire day.
Why Does This Happen?
Apart from our minds finding ways to infinitely expand the complexity of the task, procrastination is quite possibly the main factor when it comes to these situations. As we figure out that we have more than enough time to complete the task at hand we become more inclined to do the majority of the work closer to the deadline.
Have you ever heard someone say “I work better under pressure”? What they are actually saying is “I work harder because I have less time to complete a task”. This also means the deadline has a major impact on how hard we work. The reason this happens is that deadlines create a certain drive or motivation if you will. Having a tight deadline causes us to work harder, it is an unavoidable fact that we may as well use to our advantage.
How To Use Parkinson’s Law To Boost Productivity:
Every time you decide you need to complete a task, allocate a reasonable amount of time to it, then half it! Granted, this is quite an extreme way of using Parkinson’s Law but It is guaranteed to improve workflow and overall productivity.
By doing this simple exercise each time you plan out your day or week not only will your time projections become far more accurate but you will also start to notice small habits that inhibit you from completing tasks on time. This could be needless social media scrolling or simply everyday distractions such as background noise for example.
Next, try to limit these distractions and habits, instead of spending endless amounts of time on the internet and social media, limit yourself to half an hour. Set a timer and when the timer is done continue with your work. If you find yourself being distracted by things happening around you, find a quiet place to continue with your work undisturbed.
Most of the time we spend endless hours doing absolutely nothing when in reality we should be “knuckling down and getting the work done”. Using Parkinson’s Law will not only help you to allocate more realistic time limits to tasks, therefore, helping you to focus on what’s at hand, but also allow you to find and remove potential distractions from your day to day life resulting in a faster, smarter, and overall far more productive working environment.
If you would like to know more about productivity and ways of maximizing efficiency in your life please consider checking out my other posts.
Thanks for reading, don’t forget to leave a comment, and consider subscribing to Focus Weekly so you can get access to new content as soon as it comes out!