What is Parkinson’s Law?

This summer, Parkinson’s Law has had an interesting effect on my time management.

Parkinson’s Law:
“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

Basically, the more time you have available to do something, the longer it’s going to take. Oh so true!

I went into this summer expecting to be very productive, and I was! However, if I take a serious look into how much concrete work I accomplished, it isn’t too much more than what I would have accomplished during the school year. This of course, is because of Parkinson’s Law. I have more time to work in the summer, so the work takes longer.

However, there is something to be said for how much more enjoyable and less stressful my work has been this summer. During the school year, I’m up at 5 to get to school. I try to cram in some work over my lunch break, then squeeze in a few more hours between when school gets out and ASU evening class begins. It’s rather exhausting, but it works.

In the summer, I don’t have to get up that early. I can work much more leisurely. I can take frequent breaks and I also have the flexibility to take a mid-week day off if I need to. Sure, I may not be completing triple the workload that it may seem like I’d be able to, but I’m enjoying my work much more. As long as I’m not flat out wasting time, I’m willing to sacrifice a few productivity hours to make my summer a little more relaxing.

What Counts as Wasting Time?

The key difference between working leisurely and wasting time is your use of Time Killers (or as Lifehack calls them: Cockroaches of Time Management. Ha!) As long as you aren’t getting lost in those little things that waste your time without your permission, there is nothing wrong with choosing to let yourself work a little slower once in a while if your schedule allows it.

Focused work is always better than unfocused work, but staying “focused” doesn’t mean having your nose to the grindstone 24/7. Finding that balance is the ultimate time management secret to success.

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