Parkinson's Law of Time Management

British Professor Cyril Northcote Parkinson first articulated what is known as "Parkinson's Law" in a humorous essay published in The Economist in 1955.

"Work expands to fill the time available for its completion."

Parkinson's essay was meant as a jibe at government functionaries, having worked in the British Civil Service and seeing first hand how bureaucracy ticks. He based his comments on his experience as a British army staff officer during World War II.
His view on on the nature of bureaucracy described the rate at which bureaucracies expand over time.

time analysis Time Management
It is a common observation that employees complete tasks in the time allocated, not before.
Employees give themselves longer than need, because they feel the need to add buffer time.
If you give an employee a week, to complete a two hour task - it will take a week, not less.

The time employees spend to complete a task grows in a direct ratio with the perceived importance and complexity of the task.
A task that has been allocated a lengthy amount of time is seem as complex, and complicated, therefore needing the lengthy amount of time.
Even if the task has been completed ahead of schedule, perfection sets in, and the employee will continue to work perfecting the task, until the end of the time allocated.

* Assign the right amount of time to a task
* Self imposed limits
* Focus on getting the task done, not the time allocated to complete the task
* Set strict deadlines

Parkinson's humorous approach generated additional "laws" and observations:

Parkinson's First Law
Work expands to fill the time available for its completion; the thing to be done swells in perceived importance and complexity in a direct ratio with the time to be spent in its completion.

Parkinson's Second Law
Policies designed to increase production increase employment; policies designed to increase employment do everything but. Expenditures rise to meet income.

Parkinson's Third Law
Expansion means complexity; and complexity decay.

Parkinson's Fourth Law
The number of people in any working group tends to increase regardless of the amount of work to be done.

Parkinson's Fifth Law
If there is a way to delay an important decision the good bureaucracy, public or private, will find it.

Parkinson's Law of the Telephone
The effectiveness of a telephone conversation is in inverse proportion to the time spent on it.

Parkinson's Law of Delay
Delay is the deadliest form of denial.

Parkinson's Axiom
The matters most debated in a deliberative body tend to be the minor ones where everybody understands the issues.

Parkinson's Axiom
An official wants to multiply subordinates, not rivals.

Additional Quotes
"The man whose life is devoted to paperwork has lost the initiative. He is dealing with things that are brought to his notice, having ceased to notice anything for himself."

"The man who is denied the opportunity of taking decisions of importance begins to regard as important the decisions he is allowed to take."

"When any organizational entity expands beyond 21 members, the real power will be in some smaller body."

"Men enter local politics solely as a result of being unhappily married."

"It is better to be a has-been than a never-was."

"Perfection of planned layout is achieved only by institutions on the point of collapse."

"The smaller the function, the greater the management."

"It is not the business of the botanist to eradicate weeds. Enough for him if he can tell us just how fast they grow."

"The chief product of an automated society is a widespread and deepening sense of boredom."

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