Time is funny.When working on a long boring assignment , it can seem to move very slowly.But when watching your favourite web series….BAM ! There goes 3 hours of your day.
But why does time work like that ? Let me introduce to you Parkinson’s law of time management.It simply states that :
When you give yourself some time to complete a task, it will take that much time. If you give yourself a week to do your assignment – it will take a week. But if you give yourself a deadline of 9 pm later that night , you will put in effort to complete it.
Compare giving yourself a month to finish working on your new business logo vs a Sunday afternoon to sit down and get the same work done. Your work will expand to the time that it is given. When we have a long term project due after a month, we usually don’t begin until the week of the deadline. Since we only feel the pressure of the task when we have less time to work on it.
Northcote Parkinson gave an example in the essay he wrote for the Economist explaining this phenomenon.
As the story goes – a woman has a single task to send a postcard by the end of the day. She spends an hour finding the card, another half hour looking for her glasses, an hour and a half for writing the card and then another 20 minutes deciding on whether to take her umbrella or not.
A busy person on the other hand would take less than 15 minutes to get this done. So in the example of the woman , she had a day’s worth of time to get her work done, so she took a day. The busy person , on the other hand only had 15 minutes, so took only 15 minutes to get the task done.
This is the basic principle to getting more done in less time. By setting yourself smarter and more efficient deadlines, you can get all your work done in less time than it would have taken. Set yourself a realistic deadline taking into consideration all aspects of your work. Sometimes you might even catch yourself in a surprise like I did – when it only took me an hour and a half to complete a worksheet which I was sure would take me at least 2 days.
By using this law you can get more work done in less time and create some free time for yourself.
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