“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”
-Parkinson’s Law, from Parkinson’s Law, and Other Studies in Administration
Essentially this “law” is saying that all the time you allot to a task will be used in the completion of the task, and if you make less time available for the same task you will get more done in less time. While this “law” is not always true, it is certainly a truism. From early childhood we have all experienced this in one form or another. Most of us have experienced it finishing home work from school that should have taken us 2 days to complete but we finished it all on the morning it is due in a few short hours because we had to have it done.
This does not mean that working long hours is all inefficient work, but in many cases that work efficiency could be dramatically improved. How can you even measure your efficiency if you do not keep track of your activities? If you are not already, you need to be keeping track of your time spent throughout the day. This is where an app like Toggl can be extremely helpful for you to spot areas of inefficiency and correct them.
If you give yourself 2 hours a day to answer and manage emails, then that is likely how long it will take (at minimum). Why not challenge your efficiency and give yourself only 30 minutes a day to do that same task that currently takes you 2 hours? Perhaps you will not succeed, but I am certain if you tried you will find ways to be more productive in a shorter time period. You could discover that much of your email work is not needed, or find ways to dramatically decrease it with services like FollowUpThen.
While some may look at this on the surface and view it as restrictive and limiting, I think you will actually find that it works counter-intuitively and brings about a new freedom. You find out really quickly that you are more competent than you though and are able to do a lot more than you once presumed once you start placing time-limits and restrictions on activities and make yourself find ways to finish those tasks in the allotted time. You will bring about creative ideas to get things done and ways to make all aspects of your life more efficient. Far from being restrictive and limiting, it actually helps you free up precious time to use as you see fit. You will also know that the time you are using is being used as efficiently and productively as possible. Give it a try and tackle on task today, give it less time to be accomplished, and see how you rise to the occasion and get it done!
“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16)