October 27, 2022

What is Parkinson’s Law? Don’t let it affect your productivity!

Before we start with a longer explanation about the Parkinson’s Law, let’s put ourselves in a real-life work scenario. Imagine that you are assigned a project and you won’t have any problems to complete it. Even better, you are given a lot of time to finish it. You surely would be able to complete it in less time. However, as a hopeless victim of procrastination, you let the time pass and do other things. When you check the time, the deadline is alarmingly close, so you have to rush against the clock to finish something easy.  

Has that ever happened to you? If so, then you have experienced first-hand the effects of the Parkinson’s Law. Do you want to know more about this concept? At T2W we have an extensive experience in talent management and Human Resources, so we know this law and how to deal with it. In this article, we’ll delve into the Parkinson’s Law, the way it works and how to prevent it from affecting your productivity at work. 

What is the Parkinson’s Law? 

The Parkinson’s Law says that work expands to fill all the time assigned or available. Therefore, since at work you have 8 hours to complete all your tasks and projects, these will extent to fill those 8 hours even in the days when you could complete it all faster. Parkinson’s Law points out the importance of setting deadlines. Those boundaries motivate and encourage us to complete work at a specific time. 

This concept becomes even more relevant in the age of social media. About 67% of workers say they check social media regularly while being at work. However, that’s not the only source of distraction in the workplace. We can add up the time most people spend watching videos on YouTube or talking with other people. All those factors affect our productivity at work. At the end of the day, you’ll notice you wasted a lot of time.  

How to avoid Parkinson’s Law? 

How to avoid Parkinson’s Law? 

1. Prioritize your tasks 

To begin with, make a list with all the tasks you’ll have to complete during that day. Next, start ordering them according to their relevance. The most urgent tasks must be at the top of the list, followed by the most complex ones. The easy ones should be at the end. Keep in mind that for most people productivity is usually at its peak during the first hours of the day and it gradually falls in the afternoon. This is why it’s important to begin with the most difficult tasks, since most people have more energy during the mornings.  

2. Time all your tasks 

Since Parkinson’s Law highlights the importance of having setting at work, the next thing you have to do is to assign specific time to each task. To do that correctly, you can use an online timer. There is a myriad of time tracking apps that can help you set boundaries for all your tasks. Some interesting options are Toggl Track, Todoist or Noisli, just to name a few. 

3. Set reasonable limits 

After understanding the way Parkinson’s Law works, some people choose to set very strict deadlines as an attempt to avoid that problem. It usually has the opposite effect. If you set very demanding deadlines, you’ll only get overstressed and your performance will plummet. You could even get a case of the burnout syndrome. Instead, try to balance your deadlines. For example, if you have one week to complete a project, don’t try to finish it all in a day. Set reasonable limits for each task. 

4. Use the Pomodoro technique 

A very effective time management method is the Pomodoro technique. With this, you divide each half an hour into sections or pomodoros. For each 30 minutes, you set 25 minutes of intense work and complete concentration. There shouldn’t be any talking, phone checking or any other distraction. When the time is up, you take a 5-minute break. Once you complete four of these sections, then you can take a break of 20 minutes. After this, you restart the whole process again. 

You can also adopt this time management technique and make some changes to it. For example, some people choose to increase the time assigned to work and instead of working for 25 minutes, they work for 45 minutes and take a 15-minute break. You can adapt this to your working style. However, keep in mind that concentration levels start fading after some time.  

Now you know what is the Parkinson’s Law. Also, we have seen some of the most effective methods to prevent it from affecting your performance at work. Make sure to apply it in your everyday life and it will reflect positively in your productivity.  

At Talent2Win, we strive to align your company’s business objectives with the best Talent Acquisition strategies available. If you want to learn more about the services we offer, do not hesitate to contact us.  

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