Studying the large bureaucracy as a British staff officer in world war II, Cyril Parkinson a naval historian spent a large amount of time observing various inefficiencies in the force. Noting that indeed while the empire decreased, the colonial office increased.
Relating this to the capitalist environment, he published an article in 1955. Dissecting how an organization Cyril published an article for the “Economist” in 1955 about the unrestrained growth as a result of their selfish nature(each department creates work for another. After all, an official wants to multiply subordinates, not rivals.). He suffixed this article in the below sentence :
“Work expands to fill the time available for its completion”
This later caught on in his book and is today known as the Parkinson’s law.
Speaking more to time management, but also to every other part of an organization, the law states that:
If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute to do.
The demand upon a resource tends to expand to match the supply of the resource
Loosely translated into:
The amount of time that one has to perform a task is the amount of time it will take to complete the task.
What this means in our day-to-day activities
This simply put means that no matter how long or little time we feel we have to complete a task, the task will still be completed. To further illustrate this, let’s use an example. If you are given a proposal to complete in 3 days. At least, a whole day will be used to find inspirations, feel the topic, make researches before you start writing the proposal itself. And then finish it up on the third day.
However, if you are given the same proposal to complete under 18 hours, you would still go through the same processes as the earlier example but only faster and to achieve the same result.
A common factor in the above examples is the deadline. Deadlines are constraints/ limits placed on any task. Or constraints to one’s excesses.
Excess spending, eating all proving that humans are awfully terrible at predicting outcomes. Overestimating our capabilities. underestimate how long much we can do in the long run.
Constraints, however, help us keep up toe – to- toe with tasks and checks our excesses.
In a digital world where our attention is constantly being divided, though aimed at the bureaucracies in government, we find Parkinson’s law useful in every area of our lives