Parkinson's law - Simply Reorganize Your List and Get More Done


Have you ever thought to yourself, I'll complete my small tasks first in order to "get warmed up", or "start with small wins", or "to have something early to show for today"?

Although these small victories may feel good, placing them earlier in your day will cause them to take more time and prevent you from getting larger more important tasks completed.

Below we will discuss Parkinson's Law and how a simple reorganization of tasks can not only allow you to get more important projects completed but more work accomplished in less time.

Parkinson's Law

Parkinson's Law states that: 

Work expands or contracts to fill the available time for its completion. 

In other words, human nature is such that if you give yourself a week to complete a task, you will take the whole week, to the last minute, to complete the task.

Even worse, allowing a load of minuscule tasks to be placed at the start of your day without consideration of time constraints, is a formula for looking up a couple hours before the end of the day and wonder why you did not complete that one large looming task you swore you would complete today. 

Leveraging Parkinson's Law

We are all busy individuals. In the professional arena of our lives alone, our time is packed but each of us starves for so much more. We want to spend additional time with our family and would love to actually have time for that elusive activity, fun.

Use Parkinson’s law to get this done!

On small tasks, that you can’t eliminate or delegate, put them at the ends of your day when your mental reserves have been depleted on your important work. This will give the majority of your quality work to your larger projects and provide you less time to waste in expanding small tasks to fit the large time allowed in placing them early in the day.

On your large tasks, set a short deadline and hustle to the finish line. If you allow yourself until the last minute to complete this work it will take every bit of that time, and at the last minute is when life will inevitably happen (sick child, flat tire, emergency at work...etc). 

Allow these large tasks to receive your attention when you are fresh in the morning and set a shorter deadline than the actual due date. If you do, you will watch yourself complete more of these tasks in less time, produce work of higher quality, and lower your stress levels from last-minute cramming and/or the looming constant promise that your large task WILL get done today.

Action Steps

 1.) Utilize The Manager's Journal to organize and prioritize your tasks. If you do not have a system from maintaining a running to-do list with some form of prioritizing important tasks then you will have a difficult time applying any principal, including Parkinson's Law, to your life.

2.) Strategically give yourself less time for small urgent tasks and, as stated above, utilize your most productive time periods for the most important tasks. 

3.) Place small tasks at the end of your days where they naturally are provided less time to complete before closing time. 

4.) Always place aggressive time limits on your tasks especially your larger tasks that are harder to judge on completion time. Set a deadline in advance of the true deadline.

Blessings In Your Endeavors,

Ruben Watson 


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