Parkinson’s Principle

I can’t remember which it was, but one of the newsletters I read recently recommended Universal Laws of the World, a collection of “a few laws – some scientific, some not – from specific fields that hold universal truths”. It is a bit of a click-baity title, but I will forgive the people at Collaborative Fund. After all, I did click, and was pleasantly surprised.

One law which rang particularly true was:

6. Parkinson’s Law: Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.

Which surely all of us can recognise, in ourselves or in our work. It is the respectable cousin of a saying I remember from one of my university neighbours:

If you leave it to the last minute, it only takes a minute.

I am sure there are appropriate caveats, on quality and robustness. But work, like so many things, is lumpy. Not all working minutes are made equal, whatever your lawyer says. Some work harder than others.

The challenge of course is to have more lumps per hour, and less gruel.

My metaphor here relies quite heavily on lumps being good. Let’s just go with it, please.

2 thoughts on “Parkinson’s Principle”

  1. Perhaps this is another way of saying, we are severely limited the pace of our world and by the timeframes imposed upon us.

    For the longer less pressing “work” with more options maybe the challenge is to see one’seemingly stop start minutes not as stop start lumps of emotions and productivity to be harnessed, but a healthy porridge of necessary ups and downs, false starts, redefinitions.

    Like

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