Remember Parkinson’s Law?
Parkinson’s Law is the adage that work expands to fill the time allotted. Put simply, the amount of work required adjusts to the time available for its completion. The term was first coined by Cyril Northcote Parkinson in a humorous essay he wrote for the Economist in 1955.
Sixty-six years on and his words still make sense.
Consider that you work nine to five, five days a week, and to introduce a COVID factor, two of those days are working at home. You have a project to complete for the week and by Thursday morning, the work is almost done.
Enter displacement activity. You decide to leave the last part of the job until the following day and catch up on your social media threads. And there is that item on Amazon that you have been meaning to order for ages, and a holiday to plan. You have no qualms about the non-work focus as the tasks set will be done on time.
And so, a task that could be completed in less than four days will be completed in five, QED Parkinson’s Law.
Turning this situation on its head, it could be argued that setting less time than normal to complete a task would free-up more time for non-work activity if the focus stimulated by this change enabled you to complete projects within the shorter period.
Also, does this point to rewards based on work done rather than time spent on work related issues?
Perhaps the expression less is more does have legs after all.