Productivity hack: How to smash Parkinson’s Law in 2021
We’ve all been there. A small task gets a miraculous two-week deadline. You’ve got it in the bag. You’ve promised yourself you’re going to cross that task off your to-do list in a hot minute. Fast forward to 13 days later.
It’s the night before the task is due and you’re hunched over your laptop, stringing it together while weeping into your coffee cup. You wonder why you can’t whip yourself into shape, but before you’re too hard on yourself, this could be what’s causing it – PARKINSON’S LAW.
Parkinson’s Law is defined as a phenomenon where “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. You had two weeks to complete the task, so you took two weeks to complete the task, even when a day would have been more than enough. This neatly ties in with being “too busy being busy” and other time-management hiccups that could be keeping you from blazing through your to-list. So what can you do to curb it in the new year?
Try toying with time
If you were more likely to cram for a test the night before a test in school, you can trick yourself into saving time. If you have two weeks to meet a deadline, chop it in half and convince yourself that you truly have a week to meet it. If you feel like that’s not enough time, don’t budge. Do your best by pouring all your effort into the task, refine it over a couple of days, take a break, and revisit it the day after. If you’ve misunderstood the brief or made a colossal mistake, you still have a magical extra week to perfect it.
Keep a timesheet
Some agencies require their employees to maintain timesheets so they can track their workload and productivity. If your company doesn’t have this system in place, try experimenting with it. You may think scanning your emails takes five minutes, when in reality, it takes fifteen. A 30-minute brainstorm meeting could easily stretch to an hour. Without your eyes glued to the time, you may feel like it’s slipping through your fingers. Maintaining a timesheet for long enough will reveal a pattern that you could optimise. If you feel like a task doesn’t warrant as much time as you’re spending on it, you could trim it down to make space for other time-consuming tasks.
What would the ideal version of yourself do?
We all have that vision of ourselves: completely on top of their to-do list, all emails read in their inbox, not a single hair on their head out of place. This person has work, life, and everything in between all figured out. They have their priorities and time management wrapped around their finger. Think about what they would do to sail through the task on your desk. The answer could be that they prepare well in advance so all that’s left when the task lands in their inbox is to execute it. They perhaps involve their team by driving and delegating microtasks that may not be the best use of their time. They perhaps take a moment to zen out before zeroing in on the target.
When all’s said and done, and you know that you simply have too much on your plate, we can help get your ducks in a row. From tasks as simple as scheduling social media posts to compiling content calendars and managing advertisements for you, delegate the meatiest tasks on your to-do list to #teamSOCIATE. To get started, drop us a line at [email protected]