Take Action against Parkinson’s Law
The law of Parkinson explains that the time to do an amount of work expands to fill the allocated time span. This was an observation in public administrations and bureaucracy. I show you 2 strategies to revert that to get more done in less time.
And I’m sure you had that experience too:
You had a submission due in 1 month. When did you finish it? The day before!
It doesn’t matter if you started a month before or a week before, you will finish the day before the submission is due.
You will always use the time span assigned to the task, even though you could probably be finished 1 week earlier.
You know it. I know it. And this is the Parkinson’s Law in everyday life.
“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”
Struggling with Getting it Done in Less Time
I’m struggling with getting things done when the submission date is far ahead in the future, or if there is no end date.
I’m currently writing a new freebie for you, and because I didn’t set an end date I’m not working on it.
This is not good.
Especially because I know that if I sit down and focus then I can get it done in a few days.
The same happens to every one of us who wants to work on our big future goals but then doesn’t have the motivation because there is no end date set.
It seems so far away.
We as humans need structure and systems. We need someone to tell us that we have to get it done in this amount of time, and then we get it done.
For your own dreams, goals, or achievements you don’t have someone to tell you what to do, so you are not working on it.
That’s the reason why coaches are so important. We pay someone to tell us what to do and to force us to do something. We could set our own goals and systems without someone’s help, but we need the pressure and the accountability of someone else to start and finish.
There are two free steps you can do to get your brain to focus and think that you have a submission date:
Set Your Own Submission Dates
This means that you have to have some willpower and discipline.
- You set your own submission date
- Write it down in your calendar
- Write the ToDos for the task
- Think of something to do if you don’t achieve it
Something has to happen if you don’t succeed to give you some kind of pressure. You will disappoint your followers, you have to give some money to a friend, you are not allowed to go on that vacation…
Or you do it the other way around and do positive enhancement. You do something if you achieve it: buy yourself some luxury, go on vacation,…
“Time isn’t the main thing. It’s the only thing.”
Get an Accountability Partner or Group
Another possibility is to get an accountability partner.
Someone to whom you are reporting to. You protocol your progress for them, or you have to do something for them if you fail.
As a human, we don’t want to let someone else down. We want to look good and successful in front of other people.
It’s something engraved in our brains from thousands of years ago. We need to be part of a society to survive.
- Find a friend who is honest with you
- Find a group of like-minded people online to share goals and to-dos
- Your partner (who should be honest with you)
“Your accountability partner keeps you on track and moving forward in all aspects of your development”
— Mike Staver
The Parkinson’s Law can be a pain in the ass.
We can be way faster and more productive if we start earlier or are focused.
Now that you know about the law and that the project is always expanding in the time span you get, you can do something against it.
Restrict yourself or find like-minded people!
You can save a lot of time by being focused and getting into the flow state.
That’s how it’s possible for some people to achieve more at the same time than others.
“Do we need more time? Or do we need to be more disciplined with the time we have?”
— Kerry Johnson
How I was able to study, part-time work, and lead a student organization at the same time and you can too:
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