VA TIPS - The secret formula to progress and productivity
Posted on 8th March 2021 at 10:51
The secret formula to progress and productivity
Well, this isn’t so much of a secret but it is a fascinating principle based on the adage that...
“Work expands to fill the time available for its completion”.
It’s called Parkinson’s Law. A law that’s sometimes applied to the growth of a company or an organisation. But it’s also a brilliant principle to be aware of for your own personal progress and productivity.
In its pure form, here’s the formula for growth...
That’s a BIG, confusing formula.
So, let’s break it down in a simple yet more meaningful way....
At Alchemy VA, we’re all about simplicity. So, let’s look at Parkinson’s Law simply, from a personal productivity perspective...
We interpret this law as meaning that when you allow a certain period of time for a task - that’s how long it will take. Awareness of this allows you to take control of the task (and indeed your time) rather than it controlling you.
And we all know that when we are feeling in control of our work, we’re happier, less likely to drop into overwhelm or risk the slippery slope to burnout.
Here’s how to leverage it in your business...
Whether you lean on a paper diary, to do list or you’re more of a digital diary, Trello or Asana person. Scheduling your priorities and tasks is an efficient way to plan your days.
The key thing is to be much leaner with your scheduling...
For example - a meeting that you allocate an hour for, will take at least an hour.
However, if you allocate 40 minutes, it’ll more than likely be done in 40 minutes.
If you have five meetings a week, by being leaner with your scheduling (and only allowing 40 minutes per meeting) you could save yourself almost two hours a week!
The same applies to tasks. If you think and plan for a piece of work to take three hours - you allocate that length of time and Parkinson’s Law says it will take that long. Remember, work expands to fill the time available for its completion.
Let’s look at another simple example...
You have a long deadline on a piece of project work, long enough to allow for a little procrastination. It’s likely that the tasks take up a lot of headspace and sit on your ‘to do list’ for a while. You’ve mentally given yourself two weeks to get it done.
As the deadline looms - you DO get it done.
But, the work has expanded to fill the time (and focus) you gave it. Taking Parkinson’s Law into account, you could allocate a sensible amount of time (perhaps one day?) in the first instance and get it done. Allocating this time, early on, your not only saving yourself time but the panic, pressure and efficient too!
The key here is in the scheduling. It’s not rocket science, but it does make a big impact.
Try it out and let us know what you think.
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