About the Parkinson Law- and how to use it
Today I want to talk about an important tool in time management, a "law", that can be very helpful decreasing the time, a task is done at. When it comes ot planning my day, I have to evaluate, how much time a certain task will take to schedule for how long to work with it. As I make some tasks routined every day or every week, I can estimate the equired time pretty good. Other tasks, however, are not so clear. There, I have to decide, how much time I would approximately give me for this task.
To asses the length of a task, it is helpful to know about the Parkinson Law. According to this law,a task's length expand to fill the time aviable for its completion. What does that mean?
Let's say that you have a task that would, if you do it concentrated and focused, take about 45 minutes to complete. When you now, however have one hour of available time, this activity will cost you one hour. By you knowing that you have 60 instead of 45 minutes available, you will automatically expand the task to fill the time, you have. This appended 15 minutes may influence your results in a positive way, but this influence is small compared to the results, you reached in the 45 minutes "power working".
The curve shows the effort to accomplishe a task in relation to the time, it takes. As you can see, there is a very great effort at the beginning (here: the first 45 minutes) that slows down rapidly after a certain points. After this point, there is very few effort needed (here: the last 15 mintes) As the effort required after the "power working" time diminishes extremely slowly, a task can be expanded almost incredibly long.
This are the fact. Now, how can you use them in time management?
There are basically two ways, it can be made use of this law.
The first way is, what a lot of students do, to wait for a important task to almost cross the deadline and then do it at the last moment. Although this definitely decreases the amount of time, it is often the case, that the time is even smaller that the time, the task takes to do. That means, that it is not completet.
Using it in time management, however, can turn out to be very helpful. When estimating the time, a task takes to do completely, think of the smallest amount time, it could require to be done. Schedule it to this time. At the beginning, this will compulsory be a too small amount of time sometimes. After finishing the task, compare your estimated time with the time, the task actually took and adjust your estimation, till it fits the time, the task requires to be done properly without the "low- effort- time"
In doing so, I use a alarm clock and by Google Calendar, I recently started to plan with. I schedule a task to a very small amount of time and try to reach it in this period. If this, hower, is not enough, I exceed the task length. By paying attention to the clock, I can check to time, I have left.
So, I hope you found this article interesting and it may help you improving your own time management.
See you tomorrow.