Boosting Productivity With Parkinson’s Law

Visualize the last time you were working on a project for your small business. Think about each action you took. Did you stop to Google something that you didn’t really need to? Did you check your email? Did you overhear a news story on the television and find yourself watching a news story for a few minutes?

These are called bubbles and they are small amounts of time that add up to huge losses in productivity. Here is a simple solution to this problem using Parkinson’s Law and a little bit of leverage.

What is Parkinson’s Law?

Parkinson’s Law says “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Sound familiar?

You experienced Parkinson’s Law when you planned that trip out of town and had just enough time to get the final details tied up the day before the trip. You organized the trip over time having just enough time to get everything done.

You also experienced Parkinson’s Law in college when you procrastinated on a project for weeks and then completed the entire paper over an eight hour Red Bull binge – and got an A! Weeks worth of work was accomplished in a fraction of the time.

Most tasks in life take nowhere near as long as we think they do to complete. We have been trained to believe that quality and excellence are time consuming. But are they? A good deal of our time spent on tasks in spent with unnecessary preparation – fighting Parkinson’s Law all the while.

Next time you are working on a project ask yourself “Does what I am working on directly relate to the output?”

You will be surprised to find that often the answer is no.

Productivity Exercise

Unfortunately, as naturally inquisitive creatures we have a very hard time stopping ourselves from wasting time. Using Parkinson’s Law as leverage instead of dead weight will help you complete tasks in 80% less time. Here’s how:

Choose a task. Choose a task that is important to complete. It is important that the task is important as this will create some of the leverage.

Choose an Activity. Find activities and commitments within your set time period that you cannot put off or reschedule. Activities might include your job, a class or a group activity.

Schedule. Schedule your chosen task to be started within a limited amount of time before the activity.

Follow Through. Follow through and complete the task before going to the activity.

Observe. Be aware of what you filter out of that time in order to be productive. When faced with the leverage created by an impending deadline what were the core activities you used to complete the task.

This exercise will help you become aware of what actions create results and which actions are fillers. Use this exercise on a regular basis for a few weeks. Measure the amount of time it took you to complete the task before trying the exercise and then measure the amount of time it took you after the exercise when you removed the time barriers.

You will be amazed at how little time many activities really require to get done. Your results will be the same as before but the required time will be significantly less!

Note: Do not use this exercise on critical tasks when first starting as you may find that you run out of time. For more info on building the business of your dreams visit: