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1/8/2023

Parkinson's Law for Productivity

Work grows to occupy the time allotted for its completion. This saying is called Parkinson’s Law if productivity is your thing. Cyril Northcote Parkinson, a well-known British historian, and the author made this intriguing observation in 1955. Parkinson was competent to make such a claim because of his experience working in the British Civil Service and his knowledge of how bureaucracy functions. Because of the oppressive notion that working longer hours is preferable to working more quickly and intelligently.

According to Parkinson’s Law, “the quantity of work grows to take up the time allotted for its completion.” If you give yourself a week to finish a two-hour assignment, the task will psychologically grow more complex and difficult to fit inside that week. Additional work may not be done within the extra time due to stress and strain from the need to do it. The task will become simpler and return to its original state by being given the appropriate amount of time, giving us more time in return. However, Parkinson’s Law is merely an observation and not any superstitious spell. It works because individuals give tasks more time than they need, occasionally because they want some “leg room” or buffer, but mainly because they have an unrealistic expectation of how long the task will take to complete.

Until they put this theory to the test, people don’t fully realize how quickly some chores can be finished. Despite the higher return on investment for the organization, most employees who disregard the unwritten rule of “work more, not smarter” are aware that it isn’t always appreciated. That has to do with the notion that anything must automatically be higher quality the longer it takes to accomplish. When applying Parkinson’s Law, keep an eye out for those minute tasks that typically take ten or twenty minutes, such as checking email or reading feeds. For those fortunate early adopters, the growing trend of telecommuting jobs is changing this, but only because your employers have no idea what you’re doing with all that free time! You can experiment in many aspects of your life using Parkinson’s Law and reducing your deadlines to the absolute minimum. Remember where bare ends and not enough begins.