The #1 Trick You Need To Know To Get More Done, More Efficiently
Have you guys ever heard of Parkinson's Law? No?
Well, then if you're looking to get more done in your day without feeling overwhelmed, this is for YOU!
By applying this one easy trick, you can take control of your time!
Have you noticed how easy it is to spend the entire day doing absolutely nothing? Have you also noticed how much you can truly get done in an extremely busy day? One day we spend the entire day doing one or two things and the next we can easily fit in 15 tasks. Same 24 hours, different level of productivity. What gives?
If you’ve noticed the same thing, you are not alone and you are not crazy. In fact, there is something called Parkinson’s Law that states that “work expands to fill the time available for its completion”. This means that if you take all day to do 2 things, those two things will seem to expand and take the whole day, but if you want to get 15 things done in a day, those 15 tasks will also fit the time you designated for their completion.
Interesting, isn’t it? We dictate how long a task will take to get done by pre-assigning a time for its completion. And when we don’t set a time for it to get done, the work will expand to fit our indefinite time. This speaks to our efficiency.
PARKINSON’S LAW APPLIED
Raise your hand if you have one or two things that just never seem to get done. Like an endless project that drags itself on and on? I certainly do, and Parkinson’s Law is probably the reason this project hasn’t been completed yet — because I haven’t given it a definite time for its completion.
At first glance, this law seems silly and just untrue. You can think that, maybe, cleaning the house will take you 3 hours, no matter how long you allow yourself to do it. But, think again. Have you ever had to clean the house in under 3 hours? Were you able to do it? Did you ever have the whole day to clean the house and it felt like you actually spent the whole day just cleaning the house?
For all my procrastinators out there, how many of you have crammed in an entire semester’s worth of papers in the final weeks of the semester? Did your non-procrastinating peers take the entire semester to do the same amount of work?
Now, you may argue that in cleaning the house, in the first instance, you took some shortcuts, you worked quicker, etc. so of course it took you a shorter amount of time, and in the second instance, you allowed yourself to become distracted, you took your sweet time, so of course it took you more time to clean. You can also argue that many of your friends who spent all semester to do the paper got a better grade and had more well-written papers.
So, while you might concede that you can do more in less time, it won’t really be good work, just quick work, right? Not necessarily!
As mentioned above, Parkinson’s law is about being more efficient. What Parkinson’s Law means is that if you give yourself less or more time to do a task, you’ll find a way to make that task fit the allotted time. Yes, you may find some shortcuts. Yes, you may cut out some steps. But it will get done well. Conversely, the more time you allow yourself to do a task, the more complexities you’ll find.
Think of this example: You keep procrastinating on a task for weeks and weeks, thinking of how complex it is in your head. One week before the deadline, you get to work and everything flows much easier than you had imagined and the job gets done and done well. Sounds familiar? That’s Parkinson’s Law working!
Of course, there is a threshold here. You can’t say: “I’ll write a book in a day!”. You won’t do it efficiently. It will be a hot mess of a book. So of course, you need to be aware of how long it actually takes you to do something (we’ll get to this). But if you break down the book into steps, you can finish more pages in a day that you actually think. The point here is that a chapter that takes you 10 days to write is not necessarily a chapter that is better or more well-written than a chapter that took you 2 days to write. In fact, you may even find that the 2-day chapter is more streamlined and to the point and the 10-day chapter is complicated, verbose and just too long.
In applying Parkinson’s Law to our lives, we can do more in less time.
Let’s first look at 4 lessons we learn from this law and then we’ll go into how we can apply this to our lives.