Parkinson’s Law: Your Ticket To Getting More Done in Less Time

“Never confuse motion with action”
Ernest Hemingway

Remember Parkinson’s Law

A project will tend to grow in perceived complexity and importance in relation to the amount of time allocated for it.

A task will tend to take the amount of time you give it. Give yourself one thing to do during an eight-hour day, it will likely take eight hours to complete it. Give yourself two things to do in the same period of time, and you will probably finish both. Give yourself twelve things to do in eight hours, and you may not get all twelve done, but you may complete many of them.

Applying Parkinson’s Law to your work

Shortening your work time, causes you to focus on only the most important tasks. Have you ever noticed your productivity increase just before leave for vacation? It’s because we have more motivation – or urgency – to achieve completions within a limited amount of time. If you had two weeks to complete a task, you’d likely take the entire amount of time. If you had just one day to complete the same task, you’d be forced to focus on execution. You could only do the most important elements of that task (the 20% that would give you the 80% of the results).

The lesson? Shortening the work time assigned to a task, limits tasks to the important. Timelines are critical to creating focus. Without them, unimportant tasks can swell to fill our entire day.

Try this: Commit to leaving the office earlier than usual for the next two weeks (no taking work home). See how much more you can achieve when you are forced to complete your work in a shorter work day.

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