I am traveling this Christmas. We are going to the Midwest to visit family and hopefully to see some snow! Just as much as I love traveling, I love the satisfying thrill of leveraging Parkinson’s Law before a vacation to get (the right) sh*t done.
With my shortened month of work and holiday prep, my productivity, efficiency, and focus is at an all time high. I’m eating frogs, delegating, dumping the unnecessary, and hooking up my future self like a bawse! I have a clear deadline in place and I’m determined to get on that plane with nothing to worry about except what movie to watch.
Parkinson’s Law, named after essayist Cyril Northcote Parkinson, is the adage that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. We all have experiences of those miraculous things we’ve accomplished with the pressure of a ridiculous deadline. The project that we pull out of our a**, the house that gets cleaned for unexpected guests, the work that gets done while the baby is napping…Time constraints can be our friend.
Now, procrastinating or not setting boundaries when it comes to unrealistic requests from others can both lead to leveraging Parkinson’s Law, but at the cost of our wellness and sanity. The best way to use this law to our advantage is to do it with intention.
Empowered Parkinson’s Law enthusiasts don’t sacrifice their health and happiness for the end result. They gamify tasks and play psychological games with themselves to leverage the power of this law, while maintaining a firm handle on the big picture. And while they have a strong focused vision of what they would like to accomplish in a certain window of time, self-worth and happiness are not tied to outcome.
Here are a few ways you can healthily harness the power of Parkinson’s Law:
1 – Throw a party to get motivated to clean your house
2 – Set a timer on your desk and try to “beat the clock” as you work
3 – Bet someone $5 that you can get all your work done by 2pm
4 – Sign up for an upcoming fitness challenge to give your workout routine laser focus
5 – Go to a coffee shop WITHOUT your laptop power cord (Eeeeeeek! Pua knows someone who does this and it makes us very nervous!)
It is always with caution that I recommend this productivity hack, because it’s so tempting to get carried away, putting loads of pressure on ourselves to do the impossible. We may get tons done, but we feel like crap at the end of it. That is never the goal.
Keep it light, reward yourself along the way, and remember you’re the boss of you.
By Kimi Morton, whose secret goal is to inspire a “Morton’s Law”