Parkinson’s Law

Are you planning your daily tasks? Do you prefer to sit down to a task when you feel like it, without much planning and estimating how long it may take? Regardless of your approach, you’ve probably been very confused about the duration of the task.

There is always a problem with estimating tasks. I have already mentioned it once on the blog in a thread regarding principles of estimating. I encourage you to read it, also in the context of the knowledge indicated today.

Parkinson’s Law

Meet Cyril Northcote Parkinson, the historian, and writer who observed an interesting phenomenon. He concluded that a man who has, for example, 8 hours at his disposal could fully use them for work that could be done in half the time.

His law can be presented as:

Work complicates to fill the available time.

We often have the impression that the more time we have to do a given job (especially in the office), the longer it takes. Suppose we allocate less time to perform a given task. In that case, there is a possibility that we will complete it faster than assumed. If you are a perfectionist, I have to worry you. Based on the law indicated, it may be wrong to say that something done longer has to be better.

Take care of your efficiency

You probably don’t need to be at every meeting. Also, often not every discussion or problem requires your involvement.

Set yourself specific and realistic goals. Consider if something cannot be done faster or in a different way. Maybe you will save time that you can spend on your development or rest.

Planning your day can also be an excellent way to be effective. By setting your three most important tasks to accomplish for the next day, you can start your day with good motivation and a clear goal to achieve. Thanks to this, you will not think about tasks or responsibilities and focus on specific challenges.

You should avoid blaming yourself for shortcomings and carrying out the task longer than was initially planned. The key is to recognize what we have wasted to minimize these adversities in the future. Finding weaknesses in our work and better management of your own time can improve efficiency and productivity.

Remember to rest

Parkinson’s Law does not force you to work constantly. On the contrary! We should work as efficiently as possible and just enough to get the job done. Each performance of the task should bring us closer to the predetermined reward. Now you know how you can get better results without increasing the day.

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