Do you think athletes on professional sports teams give 100% effort on the job every game? I doubt that they do because it is not very possible. Let me ask you something. Do we even give 100% effort in our own jobs? I also doubt that we do because it will cause us to burn out.
I don’t know where it all started, but most of the world works from 9am-5pm. Who in the world ever came up with that concept? Does he think that everyone in this world needs 8 hours to complete all their work? Those hours are so famous that Dolly Parton sang a song about it. The bad thing about it though is that we are stuck at work for 8 hours with only 2 hours worth of real work. There is no possible way that we have 8 hours worth of work in a day. Don’t blame the employee who kills time doing nonsense work. It’s not their fault that they find different ways to fill up the rest of their hours.
With that said, thank goodness that most of us don’t work 16 hours. If we were to work 16hrs, we would have to find things to do to fill up the rest of the hours. Isn’t it amazing that during an emergency, where we have to leave work in 3 hours, deadlines force us to complete those assignments before we head out of the office? This is an interesting phenomenon because it proves that it doesn’t take 8 hours of work to finish those important tasks.
So what just happened in the previous example? This is where Parkinson’s law came into play. It says that a task becomes more important relative to the time given to complete the task. Let’s say, for example, someone gave you a task to complete in 24 hours. The deadline will force you to focus on the project to get it done. The same task with a one week deadline will be brushed aside until the last two days before the due date. The closer a task is to the deadline, the more important it will be, which in turn will cause you to be very productive due to your focus. You will be hammering out more on your project in those last hours than you ever will had you started earlier.
So how can you apply Parkinson’s law in your life? First you have to identify your most important tasks using the 80/20 rule. Then you can give those tasks short deadlines to give them the impression that they are very important. Best Buy is a company that is bucking the 9am-5pm trend. They have let employees come in and work whenever they want. All they ask in return is that the project or task be completed by the deadline. The company saw that productivity increased by 35%. By applying both rules, you can increase your productivity without having to find time to fill or waste.
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