I was introduced to a concept awhile back called Parkinson’s Law. I read about it in the Tim Ferriss book The 4-Hour Workweek. It says a task will swell in importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion. That’s pretty important, let’s look at it further.

Previously I wrote about the 80/20 principle and how 20 percent of our time generated 80 percent of our outcomes. Parkinson’s Law goes right along with that thought. If you want to get more done, give yourself less time to do it. Now that sounds like a real paradox, but it’s true!

In my own life I know that if I have 6 months to a deadline, the project will take the better part of 6 months. When an emergency arises and I have a project that must be done by tomorrow morning, when does it get done? Right, by tomorrow morning. Think about how that works in your business life or even in your personal life.

We need to take charge of our time. It seems there never is enough time but the reality is we waste so much of it. This week I’ll be writing about interruptions and time wasters, about how to apply Parkinson’s Law in your life to get more done using less time.

It’s a paradox that you’ll want to apply to your life. It will give you more time for those things that you’ve always wanted to do, for those 20 percent activities that give you 80 percent of the results you want, whether business or personal.

To get prepared start watching yourself and others. How does Parkinson’s Law apply to you? Consider the times when you’ve had a tight deadline and how you met it. Consider how you pushed all interruptions and time wasters aside to meet that deadline. What if you permanently pushed aside the interruptions and time wasters? That’s what I’ll look at next time as together we discover how to do more while working less.


by Steven Schlagel