How Does Parkinson’s Law Work?

How Does Parkinson’s Law Work?

This means that the more time we dedicate to a task, the longer it’ll take us to complete it, even if we could have gotten the task completed in a shorter period of time. 

Have you noticed that when stakes are high and you have to deliver, you can do the same task that normally takes you a day to complete in just four to five hours? This is Parkinson’s Law in action and it’s could be one of the most powerful productivity principles of all time.

Parkinson’s Law has become increasingly popular in business and workplace spectrums. Not because it sounds good, but also because you can easily test it yourself and see if it’s true.

Here’s how to use Parkinson’s Law to increase productivity by as much as 70%.

Use a Pomodoro-Like System to Focus and Track Time

Using a Pomodoro system, or similar system, is one of the best ways for maximizing this law. This technique encourages people to work with the time they have-rather than against it. Without concentrating your effort and tracking your concentration and the associated productivity, you won’t be sure if you’re increasing productivity (and probably you won’t).

Set Deadlines

To embrace Parkinson’s Law in your work, start each task by identifying its scope and determine how much time it’ll take to complete it realistically.

Don’t ask yourself, “How much time do I have to complete this project?” Rather, ask yourself how long it will realistically take you to complete that task. Then, do your best to complete the task within that timeframe.

You can achieve this by using deadlines. Research shows that deadlines can lead to higher outputs. Set different time constraints for different tasks. For instance, use a timer with a set number of minutes for short-term tasks, and have date-based deadlines for long-term tasks.

If you realize that more time is necessary, that’s fine. But try to stick to allotted timeframes, if it’s possible without compromising the quality of the work.

Take Frequent Breaks

Taking frequent breaks is crucial in embracing Parkinson’s Law because of the concentration you want to have while doing the work. Our brains get tired quickly and without frequent breaks, they shut down and can’t operate the same way. To increase your productivity, learn when to stop and step away, even if it’s only for five minutes every hour or two.

Parkinson’s Law shows we unnecessarily complicate things. It’s not rocket science – giving yourself one day to write a full-length dissertation will end disastrously. But you can negotiate with others or yourself for the extra time because you know how long it takes to complete the task.

Over-complicating things happens because we’re terrible at predicting outcomes. We’re overwhelmed by cognitive conflicts. And we end up overestimating how much we can do in the short run as well as underestimating how much we can do in the long run.

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