Parkinson’s Law – The Law of Efficiency

Feb 5, 2016 | Uncategorized

Right this is going to be a quick, productive blog, to go along with the theme – Parkinson’s Law.

Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to fill the time available for it.  If this is true – there are a few general observations that fall out of this that are worth musing over.


1)      Set limits on your working day

You set that limit.  It is noble and right not to be idle, but if the above law is true we need to think about what we are doing and for how long.  As accountants we have just gone through tax season.  We see a lot of procrastination in our line of business.  That tax return you put off regularly managed to take all year and was sent off at quarter to midnight on the 31st January.  You did it – lots of other people did it – Parkinson’s Law held firm……


2)      Get in Early and Finish Early

If for example you stop work at noon – you force yourself to get your work done in the time that you have.  You probably prioritize as well as being more efficient.


3)      Work a four day week

There’s no reason if you have flexibility over your working schedule that you can’t work a four day week.  More balance, less work, more productive, less stress.


4)      As long as the work gets done……

Have a policy that says as long as the work gets done – everyone is happy.  If you get all your work done in 6 hours when the working day is 8hrs – Everyone is happy. 


5)      Don’t take work home

Setting limits around your working hours stops the work day spilling over into personal time.  Set strong limits over your personal time and give it value.  In doing this you will get the rest you need and be more productive in the time you do work.  In the modern world this is easier said than done – quite often if you want to advance your career you have no choice.


6)      Create a to do list

We all have lots to do.  By keeping a to-do list we focus our attention and get the satisfaction of crossing items off.  I make it a rule not to leave a day without closing on at least one good item.  You might have a different rule for more items – but the principle holds.


7)      Make goals that stretch you

If work expands to fill the time available – stretch yourself in the time you have available.  Make your goals ones that you don’t think you can achieve and you will be surprised how the mind compensates to reach its goal – in the time allotted.


In conclusion by constraining the number of working hours – this requires more efficiency and productivity to get the job done.  A different balance can lead to a less stressed life in terms of the work life balance.  I think Parkinson’s Law is a good theory and I think people can make it work to their advantage. 


So will you be submitting your next tax return at 11.45pm next January 31st??



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