The Productivity Paradox: Why Having Too Much Time Leads to Less Work Done

More time = more opportunities to fail

Simona Hostakova
Published in
4 min readFeb 15


Image by 愚木混株 Cdd20 from Pixabay

Imagine it’s finally Saturday, and the only task on your to-do list is to send a birthday gift to your old friend.

You ordered him a book from his favorite author and a cool t-shirt, and all you have to do now is put them in a box, write a funny postcard, stick an address label on and take it to the closest drop-off point.

You start with a postcard, trying to write something special and witty, but nothing comes to your mind. You google a list of best b-day wishes, and after a thirty-minute hunt, you finally choose the right quote.

You scribble your friend’s address on a sticker but concerned about your poor handwriting, you decide to print out the label instead.

After the printer turns on, you notice it’s out of a cartridge.

So you head over to Amazon to get a new one — and discover your favorite fashion brand on sale.

Two hours later

Two hours later, there’s still no label on the box, there’s still no cartridge ordered, and your Amazon shopping cart is filled with some crap you don’t really need.

If you found yourself in this or a similar scenario, you’re not alone.

Procrastinating and wasting time is something we all do, and unless we have a strict time frame to complete tasks, our minds start to wander, and we end up doing unrelated stuff we didn’t plan to do.

In simple words, the more time we have, the less productive and efficient we tend to be.

This phenomenon was first introduced by C. Northcote Parkinson, a British author, who noticed that,

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

His insights on productivity and management made him a bestselling author, and the quote above became regarded as Parkinson’s law.

More time means more complexity

If you had to finish the task described above during a busy day, you’d drop the gifts into the box, quickly jot down on the postcard Happy B-Day, I miss



Simona Hostakova

I share my best insights on marketing, writing, freelancing & personal growth | | Looking for writing jobs?