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Parkinsons Law: Its Impact on Time Management

Parkinsons Law: Its Impact on Time Management 1

Parkinsons Law understanding its impact on Time Management.

‘Work stretches to fill the time that is available for its completion.’ You might have come across this quote when learning about productivity. Maybe you haven’t. That statement defines Parkinson’s Law. 

Cyril Northcote Parkinson made the remark in 1955 in an article for the Economist. The statement can easily apply to most of your regular duties. Its principle is that the more time allocated to a task, the longer it takes to finish.

Say you have a paper that is due in one week, but you wait until the last two days to finish it. Technically, that task took one week because that is the time frame that you gave it. Seeing as you completed the paper in two days, it means that you should have timed the task for that duration. Most people are familiar with this law; they just don’t know it. 

If employees analyse their past activities, they can pinpoint instances when Parkinson’s Principle was at work.

How Parkinsons Law Affects Productivity

Procrastination is the biggest impact of Parkinson’s Principle. When you set aside too much time for a particular task, you waste precious moments that could be used in other areas. 

Many people are procrastinators, even when they don’t acknowledge it. Have you waited to tackle a task at the last minute in the guise of ‘working well under pressure?’ Then, that is procrastination. It happens when you believe that you have more than sufficient time to complete an activity. Even if an activity is supposed to take one hour, but you give it three hours, that is how long it will last.

According to Parkinsons Law concept, the task will increase in complexity to fill that apportioned time. The extra time that you spend doesn’t necessarily reflect in the output. A majority of people will fret, tense and stress about the job before they get around to doing it. 

When running a business, the productivity of the workforce is critical. You want employees who meet their responsibilities in the most efficient ways possible. Spending only the necessary time on checklists boosts productivity.

How to Improve Time Management

So, you know what Parkinsons Law is. How do you use that lesson to change how you do things? 

Effective time management is essential in preventing wastage. Begin by cutting deadlines. When creating a to-do list or planning a project, ensure that you only allocate the necessary time. Eliminate the opportunity to procrastinate. Short deadlines force workers to focus on the fundamentals. You will maximise the available time as much as possible to ensure that the job is complete. However, remember to keep deadlines reasonable. Evaluate the task thoroughly so that you can set aside enough time for it.

How can you perform more tasks in less time?

A simple way to combat Parkinson’s Law is to change mindset by not assuming to finish a task we must use up all the allotted time.

Productivity and time-management methodologies and  techniques can really help when trying to optimise your time.

Productivity and Time Management Techniques

Time-Blocking

Time-blocking technique  is about assigning specific blocks of time to each task.

GTD Getting Things Done : 2 Minute Rule

GTD Getting things done two minute rule is a simple principle that any task that can be performed in less than two minutes must be actioned completed immediately, rather than be scheduled or added to a to-do list.

Pareto principle

Pareto principle also known as the 80/20 rule states 80% of results come from just 20% of the effort in a task. Meaning the majority of work has less impact on the final result. 

You can create a pareto chart to help.

Pomodoro Technique

Pomodoro technique are 25-minute focused work sprints followed by a short break of 5 minutes to help sustain concentration and reduce mental fatigue.

frequent short breaks

focused work sessions – with frequent short breaks

Eliminating time wastage and enhancing productivity

Efficient resource planning goes a long way in eliminating time wastage and enhancing productivity. For one, get the right people for particular roles. Workers with the right skills for the assigned tasks know where to start so task management is key. They won’t waste time trying to find out how to approach a task. Plan the other resources required for the job. If a project requires new equipment, get it beforehand. Team members won’t have to spend time trying to find what they need.

If you are to meet tight deadlines, know that accountability is key. Whether a worker is alone or part of a team, a degree of accountability helps a great deal. If a project encounters an issue, there should be a practical and effective way to deal with it. Know who to hold responsible when the deliverables are not met.

Parkinsons Law states that the more time you allow for a task, the longer it takes. Individuals and businesses must know how to manage time efficiently. Tools like the Pomodoro technique , GTD Getting things done, 80-20 rule, and checklists can help with time management on all levels.

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