What Is Parkinson’s Law
Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.
According to Parkinson’s Law if you’ve got a month to write a paper it’ll take you that entire month to do so.
If on the other hand you’ve only got 24 hours to write the same paper you’ll find a way to get it sealed, signed and deliver within that 24 hour period.
“If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute to do”
When we’ve got excessive amounts of time to perform a task we’ll always find a way to spend that time doing the task.
This is known as ‘fake work’.
We’re doing things, but they’re petty, minuscule tasks that don’t really have much impact on the actual task at hand if at all.
When available time increases our productivity and quality of work given the amount of time we have decreases.
When time is of the essence and we’ve got a day, an hour or a minute to perform a task we always manage to get it done.
10 minutes of real work trumps an hour of fake work every day of the week.
Parkinson’s Law can either work for you or against you, if you understand and use Parkinson’s Law in your favor you’ll become an ultraproducer. If you choose the opposite and forget about Parkinson’s Law you’ll find yourself spending what feels like an eternity ‘working’ on basic tasks.
How To Harness Parkinson’s Law For Increased Productivity
Set Short Deadlines
I swear by deadlines.
If you don’t have a deadline a task will not get done. There needs to be a sense of urgency, a reason to exert yourself to complete a task.
BUT the deadline must be in the near future.
If weight loss is your goal instead of setting a 12 month goal of losing 20lbs why not set that same goal for 4 months?
Both are attainable are I can guarantee you that if you’ve got the goal set of losing 20lbs in 12 months it will take you ALL of the 12 months to complete this goal.
Force yourself to work harder, to make smarter decisions and make it happen in 4 months, the work (losing weight) will fit the time given (in this case 4 months).
Not only will you be able to lose more weight in a year but you’ll also have the positive confidence and sheer momentum behind you from doing so, and that’s powerful stuff.
Utilize Time Management Techniques Such As The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro technique is one of the most basic, effective methods of managing your time when you’re on a mission to get shit done. Pomodoro focuses on short intervals, setting yourself goals and checkpoints for each interval will ensure you get it done.
How To Implement The Pomdoro Technique
- Create a list of tasks that must be accomplished for the day
- Set your timer for 25 minutes
- Mark an ‘X’ on your piece of paper after the first 25 minutes
- Take a 3 – 5 minute break between your first 3 Pomadoro sequences
- After you’ve marked down your fourth ‘X’ on your piece of paper take an extended break for 15 – 30 minutes
- If any distractions or thoughts arise during your Pomodoro don’t stop! Instead just write them down on your paper and deal or schedule them during your break intervals.
Once you’ve marked your four X’s on your paper and had your extended break (at which point you will have done 100 minutes of productive work) it’s time to ‘reset’ so to speak and erase your X’s and proceed back to the start.
Once a Pomdoro (25 minute interval) has been started distractions should fall to the wayside.
When interrupted during a pomodoro, either the other activity must be recorded and postponed
(inform – negotiate – schedule – call back) or the pomodoro must be abandoned.
You can read my complete article on the Pomodoro Technique here.
Hard Work Vs. More Work
Staying back late at the office, working 16 hour days or 7 days a week.
Most people would call someone that does this a ‘hard worker’ or an ‘ultra-producer’.
Hard workers and ultra-producers deliver results…
If you’re working constantly for hours on end there’s a 95% chance you’re not working efficiently.
That used to be me.
I’d work at any and every opportunity – but it wasn’t focused, quality work… I didn’t have deadlines. I did a bit here and I did a bit there, claiming to be working hard the entire time.
Set deadlines, have allocated work times and get in focused work.
My Examples Of Parkinson’s Law
Writing an eBook
It took me a year to write my first eBook.
Writing a book was one of my goals for that particular new year and it took me all the way from the 1st of January when I put pen to paper till mid December to hit the publish button on Amazon.
Without a doubt there was a lot of time wasted, petty details I was obsessing about and overall a lot of ‘fake work’ taking place on this project.
I learnt from this mistake.
Fast forward to 2015.
When I decided that I was going to be the first person to write a to the point, no BS book on fat loss I scheduled the entire process.
When I wanted to have my first draft complete.
When I wanted to have all cover art, photography & proof reading complete.
When I wanted to hit the big ‘publish’ button on my Amazon dashboard.
This took only a fraction of a year, the book was of higher quality and was better received.
Was I a more experienced writer by this point? Yes.
I attribute allocating time and setting deadlines to this success, a mistake I made earlier before I had heard of Parkinson’s Law and the Pomodoro Technique.
Successfully Completing A Cutting Phase
When it comes to dieting and particularly shredding down into single digit body fat two things are of utmost importance:
A calorie deficit and a time frame.
When I book a photoshoot or commit myself to an event than I need to look my best at I always reach the level of conditioning I expect just before the event.
No event = no (or slow) results.
Every strength and dieting goal I set MUST have a deadline for efficient results.
Want To Read More On Parkinson’s Law?
Check out the classic book on Parkinson’s Law here.
It’s a relatively quick, engaging read!