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June 1, 2017

Get The Most Out Of Parkinson’s Law Technique


If you research productivity as I am, the Parkinson’s law is nothing new to you. Creating more free time to accomplish more is the ultimate need in our productive life, but we have to climb a ladder one step at a time.

We tend to feel overwhelmed all the time. Our brain doesn’t work in a dense environment with loads of information and a bunch of misinformation.

Our tasks are always taking more time due to a lack of organization and interruptions. By this time a lot of people are scratching their heads because of it.

The following technique is meant to be an arm in your toolbox to a greater productive life.

Let’s Begin

Because of Cyril Northcote Parkinson we have now one of the most used tools in productivity field. The Parkinson Law.

At first it was published on The Economist in 1955 but later was printed again in a book called Parkinson’s Law: The Pursuit of Progress in 1958.

(Image book Parkinson’s Law: The Pursuit of Progress)

Let’s put history aside for now.

This is the core message of a generalization of the Parkinson’s Law used today.

“The amount of time that one has to perform a task is the amount of time it will take to complete the task”

other way to see the same idea is.

“work expands to fill the time available for its completion”

What “Parkinson’s Law” Really Means?

Let’s pick a task that you know will be finished in 5 hours. Somehow you have to deliver in four days. This task will increase in complexity to fill that four days. By giving the task the amount of time needed (5 hours) the task will decrease in complexity to its natural state.

The law is based on observation, a mix of psychology and science to make your productivity flow in a stressless way.

But wait. You’re telling me that if I assign two minutes to a four hour task it’ll work? NO. This is observation and common sense. Don’t crawl into that falacy. Just set a real goal and a limit to push yourself to complete a task as efficient as possible.


Take me as an example.

In my day job I have to send a full report of our construction sites in day 10 of every month.

It takes me two days (I measure this with pomodoro technique) to make this report. I have to wait for the finances department to finish their report to make mine. They need five days to deliver it to me.

Now I have 5 days to make a 2 day task.

But stop now and figure how did I find out that this law works? Haha.

That’s right. Every month I was thinking about delivering in day 10 and I actually was delivering in day 10. I learn about the law and put it to test.

Guess what happened. I had set a goal to deliver in day 7 and every month later of that I was delivering in day 7 or 8.

Now I have 3 days to focus in other tasks without thinking that I have this important report to deliver.

It was crazy how it changed my way of thinking about a task.

Do These Steps And Put It To Work

  1. Pick up a task. Grab a task that you know you have a deadline or one that you think you know how many time you need to accomplish.
  2. Put another deadline. If the “real” deadline is 8 hours set up a new one to 60% of that. Your new deadline is 4 hours and 48 minutes.
  3. Commit to it. Our focus is constantly broken, don’t get overwhelmed by interruptions or anything else.
    Use Pomodoro Technique. It will put an end to the lack of focus. Here in this post I explain how to maximize the technique to a personal use.
  4. Track the time. Record the time and the actions to see how you worked in this time of testing. The pomodoro technique will help with this one.
  5. Enjoy. I never felt so productive before I actually accomplished my own deadlines. Deliver the tasks and enjoy the results.

The fact is that people give tasks more time than it really needs to be completed.

Sometimes we need just a little pressure, a good one, to make things roll like they need to roll.

Our work is only in the average if we let the things get out of control. With a little bit of organization and a strong mindset we will certainly be out of the box. An asset that any company will want in their staff.

Our companies and families need our best all the time. This is a way for doing it without a complete burnout.

I Dare You!

Every tip and tool that I research I put to test in my life. Sometimes it’s a complete waste of time but sometimes worth it.

This is a technique that I use EVERY DAY due to it’s simpleness and it’s working since I got the momentum.

Put that to work with your package of productive tools and habits and see the results right away.

Thanks for reading this short post. If you have a question or a sharing experience let me know in the comments section below or in my twitter.

Bye 🙂

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