Without any connection to Parkinson’s disease (be always aware of that!), Cyril Northcote Parkinson, as Wikipedia says (and I do agree), was an author of some 60 books (what??? And I’m still begging for my first one???), the most famous of which was his best-seller “Parkinson’s law” (1957), in which Parkinson advanced “his law”, stating that
“work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”
All of us know this is sadly 100% true…
What happened on the first day of school when your teacher told you to prepare a project to be delivered in the last month of the year?
Obviously, you did it in the same last month (if you were lucky) it was supposed to be delivered.
What happens when you start a long-term project?
It’s logical. You’ll begin it very slow and at a calm pace, but the last week will be pure hell, full of blood, sweat, and tears.
Let’s see this other point of view.
What if you receive a project, and you only have to dedicate your time to it, and you just have one week?
Forget about interruptions, other issues, other responsibilities, and whatever you may think. Just dedicating your lifespan to this project for a whole week.
I’m pretty sure the project is going to be right, if it is possible to complete it in just one week. Let’s think it’s possible.
What if you can dedicate another week, again focusing on just that project? Will be the final result better? Probably but, are you sure?
The point is: you could be inside this loop, like a hamster on his wheel, all your life.
- Being more accurate.
- Changing things to make it better.
- Asking more people about their opinions in the project.
- Reconsidering things.
This is what I call “the paranoia loop”. Especially if you are a perfectionist…
You can dedicate your entire life to just one thing but, the point is that you need to dedicate to things the time they deserve.
And how long is something worthwhile? That’s the question.
And that’s the one you have to answer, because it’s a very personal one.
I’m going to give you three (unforgettable) hacks that really work for me and take me out of that dangerous “paranoia loop”.
Unforgettable idea #1: Deadlines
When something has a deadline, it’s going to be accomplished.
If you have an exam on a date, there’s nothing to do but trying your best to be ready on that date.
If you have to prepare a proposal for a client and there’s a due date, you’ll have the best of it on that date.
So, why is that, when you have a deadline, you cannot negotiate, you always accomplish your goal?
Because we do need deadlines in our lives, and whenever we have a date to be achieved:
- We better plan.
- We better make our efforts.
- We keep us motivated.
- We feel “the fear”.
- We take with us the energy we need to work on we are supposed to do.
So, always fix a deadline for your projects. It’s the only way to try your best on them.
Unforgettable idea #2: Short Deadlines
Try to fix deadlines as short as they can be.
- If it’s a week, great.
- If it’s two days, better.
- If it’s a day, wonderful.
- If it’s within the next hour, awesome.
Always cut your deadlines because if you do so, you’re going to convert your huge project into tiny, little tasks, and that’s great to perform at your highest level.
To know what to do.
Unforgettable idea #3: Try to do as many things as possible
I’ll go a little bit deeper about this concept because it may sound confusing or even stupid. I’ll explain myself.
I’ve experienced through all my life one thing.
The more projects I begin, the more things are moving forward (in parallel) in my life.
You have to take this point of view very carefully because it’s not easy to find out the point in which you are managing several projects, but they are not so many to stress you out, feeling so much pressure or undermine your motivation.
It’s not easy to reach that point, but the closer you are to it, the better you will dedicate to things the time they deserve.
Because you don’t have much free time to “play” with it.
And that’s the moment in which you are going to take care of your time.
- You’re going to start to SAY NO to a lot of trivial things that are consuming your time (life) day after day.
- You are going to pay attention to what really cares.
- Priorities will be a priority.
It’s, in short, when you are going to dedicate time to things that really matter to you.
The ones you love.
The ones that deserve your time.
Because, don’t forget it: your time should be yours. If you don’t think like that, it will be the others.
All these three things I’ve mentioned above are not easy to put into practice.
I always say that everything works perfectly on paper, but that’s why we are here, to take things from paper to reality.
Because it’s possible.
As an entrepreneur for more than 20 years, I’ve always been fighting against Parkinson’s law, and most of the time, I defeated it.
It’s the only way to survive.
Sometimes in life is good to “break some laws” and Parkinson’s is, without any doubt, one of those.