Parkinson’s Law is that ‘Work expands to fill the time that you give it.’ This may at first seem nonsensical. Surely the amount of time needed to complete a task is relative to the magnitude of the task? After all, I can not decide to run a marathon in one hour because I give myself one hour to run it. Yet, physical activities are dependent on physical states. For example, if one’s physical state is that of Usain Bolt, the activity of running 100m is considerably shorter. However, the ‘work’ we are talking about usually relies on our mental state – our focus – rather than our physical state. The thing is focus can be manufactured. This is why deadlines work! They force us to focus.
Therefore, when it comes to Parkinson’s law, if we give ourselves a shorter amount of time to finish a piece of work, by say telling our supervisor we want to hand a piece of work earlier, we compel ourselves to become more efficient. See the chart above.
Try creating deadlines that are a little too soon and then give yourself longer editing periods and you may just see your productivity increase dramatically.