Do you feel like your to-do list is never-ending?
Is time a scarce resource for you, with so many obligations that it feels impossible to fit everything in and still have time to relax?
Well, if this sounds familiar, then Parkinson's Law may just have the answer for you.
But what is this bizarre concept, and how could it help you revolutionize how you manage your schedule to increase productivity?
Read on to learn more about what Parkinson's law is all about and how it can help propel you toward success!
What Is Parkinson’s Law?
Parkinson's Law, an adage that states "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion," has been a popular theory since its first mention by Cyril Northcote Parkinson.
In other words, if you give yourself a week to complete a ten-minute task, be prepared to be elbow-deep in work at the end of that time.
Parkinson described this phenomenon in an essay he wrote for "The Economist" in 1955.
This law may seem like common sense, but it was one of the first comprehensive theories on workplace productivity - and astonishingly, it has been surprisingly accurate!
As modern offices extend to remote teams, this idea helps explain why working from home could lead to getting less done instead of more.
You set your own deadlines, and without strict oversight or external limits on your workload, completing projects could take forever and a day.
So the next time someone tells you about Parkinson's Law, don't shrug it off - after all, there's something special about being one of the few who figured out procrastination ages ago!
Understanding How It Works
Now, let’s try to figure out why people often fall victim to Parkinson’s Law.
Well, one possible explanation for this phenomenon is that we focus too heavily on the amount of time we are allotted for a particular task rather than what it would actually take to get it done.
We procrastinate and add layers of difficulty where none were needed before.
Essentially, we try to utilize the entirety of the allotted time because we have already assumed that this is how long it's going to take.
In short, why work quickly when you can use your allotted time, then some - right?
Now, let’s continue by exploring some strategies you can use to beat this phenomenon (or use it to your advantage!).
Strategies To Improve Productivity
The good news is that Parkinson’s Law is not some scientific theory that is bound to happen to you every time you attempt to work on a project.
Instead, it is just an observation that can provide an explanation as to why we procrastinate and sometimes struggle with time management.
This means that if you are someone who experiences this occurrence, there is hope, as it can be easily overcome with just a few simple strategies.
Prioritize And Plan
Planning is essential to ensure you stay on top of your commitments and do not fall behind.
There's a reason why it's called work, after all!
Taking the time to plan ahead, set achievable goals, and prioritize tasks are the most crucial steps to maintaining the balance between productivity and sanity.
So don't wait around until matters spiral out of control - acknowledge your responsibilities and be realistic when you map them out accordingly.
Set Your Own Timeframe
You might have ensured that your tasks are carefully prioritized and organized, but it is time for the next step.
It still can be easy to fall foul of Parkinson's Law, but worry not - with a bit of planning and foresight, it is perfectly possible to avoid it.
All you have to do is consider how much time you are actually going to need for your project and then just allow that same amount for each task.
While, understandably, your timeframes might not be entirely accurate, it could help to break your task down into smaller chunks and consider a deadline for each.
Who knows - you might even finish early!
Remember To Take Breaks
You will be glad to find out that taking regular short breaks can help us achieve our goals and kick procrastination out of our lives once and for all!
Short breaks give your mind a chance to rest and recharge and keep you motivated to keep on working while also fighting against Parkinson’s Law.
So next time you feel like giving up and putting everything off until tomorrow, take a deep breath and take advantage of a short break instead - you'll be glad you did.
And that's it! That's all you need to know about Parkinson's Law and how understanding this concept can help increase your productivity.
So plan accordingly and always leave yourself some buffer time just in case things don't go as smoothly as planned.
And if they do go smoothly, then great!
You'll have extra time on your hands which you can use however you prefer.