I recently started reading “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss and gained significant new insights to life and time management. Early on in the book, the Parkinson’s Law is introduced and since I’ve read about it I was able to instantly incorporate it into my life to make myself more efficient and effective.
What I Learned:
Parkinson’s Law – “A task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion” -Tim Ferris, The 4-Hour Workweek.
This basically means that the more time you have allotted for a certain task, the more time it takes you to complete it because the you are less focused and hence waste a lot of time on unimportant details and stuff. An example of how this is true in real life is an employee who typically takes 8hrs a day (9 to 5) to finish all his work can complete that same amount of work in 5 hours if he has a doctors appointment and has to leave 3 hrs early from work.
When I think about how this relates back to my life as a student, i was pretty shocked at how true this is. Just this quarter i had to finish reading a book of Marx’s works and write a 9 page paper on it. I had 3 weeks to complete this assignment and in the three weeks I would try to finish my reading and start my paper several times yielding no significant results until the night before my paper was due. The night before my paper I was able to focus on the most important reading and effectively plan draft and finalize my paper.
Why This is Significant:
As we get older and have more responsibilities and things to do, it always seems as if there are not enough hours in a day. But understanding yourself and how productivity often works can help us develop ways to over come inefficiencies in life and push ourselves to always work at maximum efficiency and effectiveness. The book suggested using a countdown timer to set a time you wish to complete your tasks to act as your own imminent deadline to push yourself to be more efficient.
I started using e.ggtimer.com (web app countdown timer) for my readings and have found that I can complete my readings in half the time with the pressure of an imminent deadline
I am almost halfway through the book and have already found so many useful new habits to adopt and integrate into my daily life. I highly reccommend picking up a copy and seeing how the little changes in how you think and work can make drastic changes in your life!