“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
What an “aha moment” it was to read this in Tim Ferriss’ book The 4-Hour Workweek. This is called Parkinson’s law and explains how and why modern workers take eight hours each day to complete work that can (usually) be done in a fraction of that time. It also explains why it can take you a year to tackle a file drawer when you make it a new year’s resolution.
What if you gave yourself some ridiculous goals, such as:
- 5 minutes to take everything out of your office that you do not love or find useful
- 20 minutes to tackle a shelf in your supply closet
- 30 minutes to speed through one file drawer
- 1 week to sort and file every pile in your office
Would you be more focused? Would you discover that tasks like these are never as difficult as they seem? Would you do whatever it took to meet your deadline? Is there even a chance that your quality of work might be better when working under pressure?
What project in your office can you complete by this time next week? Aim big. Cleaning out your pencil cup does not count. What project can you complete in the next two minutes? Cleaning out your pencil cup does count. Please share thoughts in the comments!