How would you like to get more work done in less time?
It seems like we always have so much to do, but so little time. In this article you will learn about Parkinson’s Law which will help you accomplish more in less time.
How this law helps you achieve financial freedom
We have a lot to do. We are working and hustling to get the next gig, pump out the next article, or write the next book.
As a result we never seem to have time.
Our work suffers, output drops, and we become burned out on the fringe of quitting.
We become stressed because we have allowed these tasks to take over your life. We resort to checking Facebook more frequently and binge watching Netflix.
This is where Parkinson’s Law will help you out. Once you understand this law you can use it to your advantage to do the work of two people in half the time.
What is Parkinson’s Law?
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Parkinson’s Law is a law that states “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
This Law was first mentioned by Cyril Northcote Parkinson in a humorous essay published in The Economist in 1955.
Parkinson developed this law over the course of his career working in the British Civil Service.
Parkinson theorized that people have a tendency to create more work for themselves because they have given themselves so much time to complete the task.
As a result they set long deadlines and work much less efficiently.
For example, let’s say you give someone ten hours to complete a task that would normally only take two. The chance of that person completing that task in exactly ten hours, no more, no less, are very high.
Even though the task only typically takes two hours, that person will find a way to make the task last the full ten hours you allotted it.
How can you use Parkinson’s Law in your favor?
If you give yourself ten hours to complete a task, there is a good chance you will take the full ten hours to do that task. This is accomplished by wasting time and using inefficient practices.
Instead, let’s use this law in your favor. Instead of giving yourself too much time to complete a task, give yourself less and less time. When you restrict your time budgeted you find ways to complete the task more efficiently.
Why does this work?
Let’s say you give that same person above the same task to complete except this time you give them one hour instead of ten.
Keep in mind this is a task that will typically take two hours to complete.
Chances are, the person will complete the task, or get pretty darn close to completing that task, within that hour that you give them.
Why exactly does this happen?
Challenging that person with a time crunch forces them to cut out the crap that does not help further their goal of accomplishing the job assigned to them.
They will be forced to cut all inefficiencies that take away from the ultimate goal: completing the task in the allotted hour.
As a result, they focus their time and energy on the most important and effective parts which help them reach the end goal.
You are challenged to work smarter, not harder when you constrict your time.
Who uses this technique?
A number of entrepreneurs and successful businessmen use Parkinson’s Law in their favor to help them get more done in less time.
Two notable individuals who use this technique are Tim Ferriss, author of “The Four Hour Work Week,” and John Lee Dumas, creator of the increasingly popular “Entrepreneur on Fire” podcast.
When successful people are doing something, I listen, and these two individuals have credited Parkinson’s Law to helping them climb to where they are in life today.
Case Study: How I have used Parkinson’s Law to benefit my life
Before I even knew what Parkinson’s Law was, I always set strict deadlines and time oriented goals. This resulted in me getting more done than my peers in even less time!
Applying this law to my job
At my 9 to 5 job as an auditor, we are given very specific time budgets to complete certain tasks. This helps keep everyone on track, and allows our bosses to measure our performance against one another and also across different years.
The purpose of the time budgets is to help keep everyone on track so that they complete their job within a specified time period.
I like to challenge myself a little bit more than the normal person. When I am given a time budget, I ask myself, “Can I finish this job at 75% of the time budget and still put out a good product?”
This forces me to focus my time and energy on only the tasks that matter. I am able to avoid many inefficiencies that fellow colleagues fall victim to.
Doing the uncomfortable
There are times at my job where I do not want to do certain tasks. For example, sometimes I have to pick up the phone or meet face to face with someone and have a conversation that I am not comfortable with.
As a result, I end up putting off the task until the last second.
I am sure you have done it to. We don’t like to do those things that make us uncomfortable so we continually put them off. So I shifted my mindset away from this and started using Parkinson’s Law to challenge myself.
If I had to make an uncomfortable phone call in the morning, I would tell myself to complete the task before 10 a.m. This forces me to get stuff done early and quit delaying the inevitable.
Using Parkinson’s Law to write more efficiently
Just the other day I was working on revising a book that I have been working on. I had been putting off doing these revisions for days.
I didn’t feel like revising my book and it sat there for three days weighing heavily on my mind. I decided that I was tired of waiting around for the right time and that I would get it done today.
I sat down around 5:15 p.m. and told myself that the book had to be done by 6 p.m. no matter what.
I turned off my phone and stayed off Chrome. I was tempted to check my Facebook and email after a half hour until I realized what I was doing. I stopped myself immediately and got back on task.
When all was said and done, I end up finishing at 6:03 p.m. I was amazed that something I had been putting off for days was finished in such limited time.
Why was I able to do so much with so little time?
I forced myself to focus in such a short burst of time which made me eliminate any and all distractions.
Facebook, email, and all other forms of communication were tossed to the side in order to finish on time.
Distractions kill productivity.
Every time you check email, Facebook, twitter, and other social media you aren’t just sacrificing the time you spend on those websites. You sacrifice that time by 200-300%.
You get knocked off track, lose focus which results in you losing your flow. This makes it harder to jump back in right where you left off.
Implement this law into your life and track the results
Now that you know of Parkinson’s Law, I want you to implement it into your everyday life.
Identify one specific activity in your life that you dread doing and challenge yourself to do that activity in less time.
Challenging yourself in this way will force you to figure out how you can get more work done in less time.
You must thing long and hard about what really matters to get the job done. Track the results and let me know how it goes.
Do you utilize Parkinson’s Law? Give me one time when you used this law and what your results were. Thanks in advance for your response!
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