Parkinson’s Law: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
Here’s a simple example. You and your team have two weeks to plan a surprise party for one of your colleagues. It’s more than enough time to reserve the conference room, order a cake, and buy some party hats.
But because you know you have more than enough time at your disposal, that party grows more and more complex. Kate wants to create an embarrassing slideshow. Brandon is eager to decorate the conference room. Maureen thinks your team should create a handmade card.
Now that party that should’ve really been a simple and quick undertaking is now something that actually requires the two weeks to complete. That’s Parkinson’s Law in action.
The more time we allot to complete a task or reach a goal the longer it will actually take to complete.
Squeeze yourself a little when making deadlines. Give yourself just enough time and you will be able to get it done quicker. Don’t fall into the trap of giving yourself “ more than enough” time because then it will actually take you longer to get it done.
Parkinson’s Law applies to our personal lives and our businesses.
If you want to get things done, only give yourself just enough time to complete it.
Now you also have some insight into why New year’s resolutions almost always fail. We give ourselves way too much time (12 months) to reach our goals. So we just tell ourselves we have time and explained the amount of time needed. As time passes we lose focus and motivation and the resolution fails.
Businesses typically break their year into four quarters (Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4) and set goals for the year. The problem is we naturally tell ourselves we have more time and end up not getting anything done. How many businesses find themselves scrambling in the last 3 months of the year drowning in everything pushed off till Q4 because there is more time?
Let’s take this topic of goal setting and time management a little further.
We all have life goals. We all have dreams for our lives. Yet so many of us struggle to live our dreams. As the years pass we find ourselves further from living our dreams and reaching our life goals.
We started talking about how small goals take longer when given extra time. Just imagine how long life goals take because we give them decades to reach, our entire lives. No wonder we never live our dream lives and reach our life goals.
So what’s the solution? How can we live our dream lives? How can we reach our long term goals?
Let me introduce you to the 12 Week Year.
Most organizations and individuals work in the context of annual goals and plans; a twelve-month execution cycle. Instead, The 12 Week Year avoids the pitfalls and low productivity of annualized thinking.
This book redefines your “year” to be 12 weeks long. In 12 weeks, there just isn’t enough time to get complacent, and urgency increases and intensifies. The 12 Week Year creates focus and clarity on what matters most and a sense of urgency to do it now. In the end more of the important stuff gets done and the impact on results is profound.
I personally use this approach and it works. Learn how to reach your goals in life and live your dream. I highly recommend you get this book and learn how to implement this simple yet super powerful approach to getting things done in your personal life and in your business.
Let me break down the idea for you here so you understand the basics.
The idea is to start from the end goal. Start with creating the vision of where you want your life to be and what you want to accomplish during your life. Then work back to where you need to be in 10 years from now to be able to reach your goals for your life. Then work back to 3 years from now. Where would you need to be in 3 years from now to be able to reach your 10-year goals which in turn will allow you to reach your life goals and live your dream life?
Now that you have a meaningful vision for life and how you can get there you can begin creating your first 12 week year which will be things you need to do to be able to reach your 3-year vision.
This was an oversimplification of how the 12 week year works. The book breaks it down beautifully and explains every step in depth.
I bought the 12 Week Year Field Guide as well which literally breaks down every step and tells you exactly what to do. This hands-on template for implementing advice from the game-changing book The 12 Week Year is a study guide that makes it easy for anyone to apply the 12 week year to their own lives.
The 12 Week Year is a how-to book for both individuals and organizations that would like to accomplish more in the next 12 weeks than others will in the next 12 months.