Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
Parkinson’s Law is a powerful natural force which describes our behaviors, motivation and work. I find it hard to focus with many distractions. When there is not that singular pull that rises above the noise, so many good options can cause me to wander and fritter away the time. Easy access to the internet and mobile apps are part of this lure.
I like using Parkinson’s Law to my advantage. If I limit time for specific tasks or projects, then focus goes way up. Some examples:
- Give myself 30 minutes to write an article.
- I have 45 minutes between now and the next appointment. Go for a run.
- Prepare 20 minutes for a lunch meeting presentation.
- One hour before I need to be in bed. Solve 2 problems.
It works very well. Somehow, I am wired, as Parkinson’s Law describes, to make work fit within constraints. No constraints and I am frittering away time and attention.
There will be frittered time, but the main things that require focus can get done by honing in the time. A timer or your clock on your computer can help you get to your goals as well. When we have to deal with the scarcity of time, I find the motivation gets really high.
I am not sure that the work ever ends, especially with easy access, mobility and competition. It can be daunting when thinking of the vastness of work. However, if I can limit distractions and focus on the vital few things which drive my businesses, then I enjoy the peace of mind that my time has been used in the right places.
OK, it’s time to publish. Time is up!
How can you use Parkinson’s Law for your productivity?