Friday, 1 April 2011

Make Use of Parkinson’s Law

If you haven’t come across Parkinson’s Law it is “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” You have probably seen this in action in a variety of situations, but not usually in your favour. We can however use this principle to drive up our improvement effectiveness and our overall efficiency.

If we split our tasks into two groups we can use this law to great advantage. The first group would be tasks that will advance our cause, system changes or creating new methods of running our businesses. The second group would be day-to-day activities, including project tasks of a more general nature.

If work expands to fill the time available then by giving less time to the second group of tasks we find ourselves with a potential efficiency gain, we will be able to get more done in a shorter period of time. We must, however, take care not to give too little time to the second group of tasks as then they simply won't get done.

Likewise we can use the first part of our day to do group one activities, things that move our cause forwards. These types of tasks often don’t get started because the day-to-day stuff gets in the way. By swapping the two groups round we can become more effective at improving our businesses and more efficient at doing our day to day work.

Using Parkinson’s Law in the manner mentioned above can lead to great improvements in both the business’ performance and individual performance. Start small and build up the time allocated to group one activities until you find your ideal balance and watch the improvements gain momentum.

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