The work spreads out to use the available time, and this diffusion is done countless times by Parkinson’s Law, although the name is unfamiliar.
Do You Recognize Parkinson’s Law Symptoms?
When a task is known to be too much to complete, it tends to do it loosely, over time, until it needs to be done urgently. Then, when it’s nearly impossible to meet deadlines, you become super productive, miraculously succeed, and it may be possible to get the job done on time. The best example of Parkinson’s Law in action is school assignments: Even if it’s a full month to complete an assignment, most people work very inefficiently until the last few days, often completing it at the last minute.
Those who are such students know that, despite devoting little time to actual, productive work, working on homework fills up all the time available, even psychologically. If the person had taken this short time right after the task was assigned, they could have finished much sooner and spent the remaining time much more enjoyable, either really resting or working more productively on other things. Does that mean one is destined to work at the top only when faced with approaching deadlines? How to get rid of this unproductive behavior and defeat Parkinson’s Law? It seems there are a few things that can be done to beat Parkinson’s Law. Ways to beat Parkinson’s Law are as follows
Distributing tasks and deadlines
Parkinson’s Law always arises when there are huge tasks that are the most difficult and deadlines are far away. The best way to fix this, of course, is to break these large, monolithic tasks into multiple smaller tasks with a deadline to do them with a few breaks to complete. In this way, in addition to showing the person how he or she is progressing, frequent and achievable deadlines allow to stay naturally busy and focused on what needs to be done, with a slight sense of urgency throughout the entire work. This method really works, but it should still be noted that these interim deadlines should be taken seriously.
Know what the word “done” means.
It’s not always easy to know for sure when a task is finished. No matter how perfectionist you are, you will most likely fall victim to Parkinson’s Law. There is always one more little thing to add and the room is that a small improvement can be made. Of course one should aim for higher quality, the hard part is knowing where to draw the line so you don’t spend too much time overdoing it. If the person is suffering from the same problem, one thing that helps them a lot is to define the output of their task exactly. And the next trick is to be as specific about them as possible.
Clear boundaries should be set
Parkinson’s Law often comes into play when too many tasks are being done at the same time. The longer this task gets longer and incomplete, the more complex it becomes and more difficult as it is exposed to numerous distractions. To avoid the effects of Parkinson’s Law and finish tasks sooner, one should focus on them one by one and try to be exposed to as few distractions as possible.
The best way to do this is to try to do the tasks with a time limit. A countdown timer must be acquired and a time limit set for working on them. A distraction-free space should be used to complete these tasks or at least make progress. Another way to set boundaries is to make a clear distinction between work and leisure. If the time allotted for study is constrained, it is easy to learn to fit all the work within these limits.
One must challenge himself
When there is a tightly set time limit or deadline, the brain forces the brain to find ways to do it in the present time. Therefore, it may be necessary to combat Parkinson’s Law, which kicks in when the brain finds excuses to get things done when time is set aside for tasks. What works here is setting strict task completion deadlines. This can be a bit of a compelling factor, and the trick here is that they still need to be believable, otherwise they can be ignored.
The person should create the time periods that he/she has determined for himself/herself! Can the same task be done 10% faster? Maybe 20%? As soon as an expectation is set, an estimate of the duration of a task becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Thus, in order to complete the task and get the most out of time, time must be set aside and made the most of it.
The good thing about pushing regularly in this way is finding creative ways to win those imposed challenges as well as improving their estimation skills very quickly. With practice, and if the tasks are well defined, broken down into small enough pieces, it becomes easier to identify and overcome challenges effectively.
Create incentives to finish early
One reason Parkinson’s Law is so pervasive is that, especially in companies, people rarely have the right incentives to finish early:
• Already over? Here’s more work for you.
• You are fast! Guess we can push the delivery date forward next time!
Even when bosses aren’t around, it’s often desirable to stick with the availability and for as long as possible, as it can act as a security cover. For example, the next task is avoided because it is too daunting. Therefore, one should give oneself small rewards if the task is finished early. For example, for a short break, surfing the Internet, going for a walk, whatever is desired at that moment should be done and the pleasure of being worthy of it should be enjoyed. The key here is to associate rewards with results, not time spent.
Of course, incentives to finish early only work if the task is well defined, that is, if you know exactly what it means to finish. Otherwise, it will not work to achieve the result by doing a sloppy or incomplete job and there will be no result other than rewarding oneself earlier at this point.
Know what’s next
Finally, something that happens all too often is to get stuck on a task for too long just because you don’t know exactly what to do next. Oftentimes, the cognitive effort in planning tasks is much more than it takes to actually perform them. This means that if there is nothing ready to act, you don’t have the energy to stop, make an immediate plan, and then get back to work. The easy way out is to stick with the current task as long as you can do it safely. One thing you always try to do is separate from planning and always make sure there are several next actions so you can keep the momentum going and not have to stop to reassess what needs to be done.