Did you know work expands over time ? – Parkinson’s Law

Question –

Have you ever noticed that sometimes even trivial tasks take you exactly till the moment of deadline to be completed? well you are not dumb or lazy I mean not completely.

Story –

Story Time!! so in school and college It would always take me until the last moment for my assignments to be completed or until the last hour of the examinations and this thing stuck throughout my career even on my job all my tasks are completed exactly by the deadline it can take more time but if task is simple and I gave estimate of 2 hours then it will take me 2 hours even if it is just simple email that I have to write and reply to a client. On careful observation i found this is not only with my careers and studies the result is consistent if it is about family commitment or a promise made to a friend. At first I thought may be I am just lazy and i am procrastinating way too much which I am a little bit I think. But this is not just my problem this happens with almost everyone. Let me know if you are also one of them..

What exactly is it?

If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute to do.

So this is what i found there is a law called Parkinson’s law which says “work expands to the time available for its completion” So if you say you will complete a task in 1 hour then it will take you exactly 1 hour to complete because your work will expand to fill in the time. allow me to explain

Lets say you have 1 hr to write an email in this scenario you will first go make coffee listen to music start to think about content to write and take some time for a perfect subject line try with different font-styles and colors text formatting and what not then you will start writing body take some break delete few lines and then write again and after all this you be done with your mail exactly after one hour

In another scenario you have only 10 minutes to write an email in this case you will skip the extras and just focus on subject and body and boom your mail is ready in 10 minutes.

So what happened here? in the first case since you had time you made other activities the part of the task like making coffee and listening to music and this is why it took you an hour while it could have been done in 10 mins as we saw in second case because we skipped the unnecessary activities and sometimes it is not even the extra stuffs like making coffee or listening to music instead sometimes it is just stress and tension of doing the work.

Using Parkinson’s Law to your advantage

So can you use this Parkinson’s law to your advantage and get more things done in less time ?Answer is yes there are few steps you can take I am listing some below

  • Divide your tasks into subtasks and estimate time for each subtasks and then try to complete each sub task in half the allotted time.
  • Be conscious of your time find small small time gaps in you daily life and try to not spend these on checking Instagram, Facebook or whatever social media you are into. BTW I am on Instagram follow me there.
  • Prioritize your tasks based on their urgency of High – Medium – Low this will force you to complete important tasks first and not so important after that.


Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

Parkinson’s Law:

As we know works expands to the time available so best strategy is to make time less available and this way we will be able to achieve more in less time

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