Parkinson’s Law Redux
December 2020 and COVID-19
Parkinson’s Law states “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
I discovered Parkinson’s Law in 2015, when I wrote an article “My Person Bane” where…
...I shared a delightful narrative about a “woman of leisure” who took all afternoon to write a postcard to her granddaughter.
If you dig deeper, you will discover “Parkinson's law” was based on a study about civil service workers, and later applied to people who procrastinate to the last minute and still complete a project on time.
I followed that 2015 post a month later with another article “Overcoming Parkinson’s Law” where I talked about my efforts to work past it.
Finally, in 2018, I wrote a third article “Parkinson’s Law Redux?” I recognized that Parkinson’s Law had become a pendulum in my life, swinging between too busy and too un-busy.
Now, in 2020, I watched a YouTube video about the subject. The narrator suggested that:
- The more time you have to complete something, the longer it will take you to finish it.
- The less time you have to complete your goal, the more likely that you’ll complete it in proposed time
- But if a goal or task does not have a specific deadline set, it will most likely never get done.
is better than
The narrator summed it up: “The end result of a shorter deadline is actually often times better, because you’re not distracted and you have better focus. Whether your deadline is too short or too far away, it’s still better than no deadline at all. Remember, if there is no deadline, your goal will probably never be achieved.”
I sensed the absence of deadlines earlier this year: I had no accountability in my life! The COVID-19 pandemic lockdown has blocked me from interacting with live people, and it gave me an excuse to procrastinate.
I half-heartedly searched for some sort of “mastermind” group, and even toyed with the idea of creating my own. But, I procrastinated on acting on anything I found.
There was no motivation (nor any deadline!) at that time. There is none today! (I’ve already been working on this article for 3 days.)
My days are full – full of busy work!
My mornings start early enough. I have a morning routine which ends with me making the bed and leaving the room. Shortly after 7:00am, I am downstairs drinking coffee and reading email. There are a few more morning Internet tasks, then I spend some time on Facebook.
I’m upstairs by 9:00. Sometimes I shower and dress for the day. I schedule Zoom meetings for either 10:00 or 1:00, but those are on someone else’s schedule (deadline). Three to four days a week I run errands to the library, post office, and the grocery store.
Around 11:30 in the morning I return downstairs for lunch. That takes a minimum of 30 minutes, usually an hour, and sometimes 1-1/2 hours! If I surf YouTube videos, that can stretch to two hours unless I bump into a 1:00 zoom session (their deadline).
Evenings are a bust. Two to three times a month I’ll join a meetup group for a Friday dinner; otherwise I’ll spend the evenings home, alone. That time is “unproductive” because I seem to mostly watch TV.
I do keep a daily diary online, and at the top I list my achievements. That section seems to get smaller and smaller each week.
I think it’s time for me to push the pendulum the other way!
YouTube video (youtu.be/tlddeUri3GM)
Website with additional laws (https://www.creativesafetysupply.com/glossary/parkinsons-law/)