Parkinson’s Law in real life

by | Mar 9, 2022 | Entrepreneurship

I road test my work at A Squared. The concepts I talk about here are things I use and adapt in real life.

I’m good at systems because I need them. I study time leadership because I don’t always use my time well and want to keep improving.

This work is my vocation and my passion for a reason.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been experiencing the real life impacts of a thing called Parkinson’s Law.

Invented by a man named Cyril Parkinson, Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to fit the container we give it.

If we give ourselves an hour to do something, we make it happen in an hour. If we give the same project all day, it takes all day.

When I started my business, I worked about 50 hours a week. After my first daughter was born, I trimmed it to 30 (in theory…it often stretched towards 35).

Now, I work 15 hours each week and am trying really hard to stay within my budget. It sometimes turns into 17 hours to get everything done, but I can feel pretty good about that amount.

Six months ago, I couldn’t imagine running my business in 15 hours a week. Now that I’ve given myself no choice, it works out.

Every time I tried to ramp my hours down gradually, it didn’t work. I had to go cold turkey.

Parkinson’s Law is more like a principle than a law, but it definitely holds water. It was a good reminder to me of something I knew but didn’t really want to believe: the best way to cut your working hours is…

to cut your working hours.

Once the container shrinks, the work will adapt to the smaller container.

If you wait for the work to give you space to work less, it probably won’t happen. It feels like a leap of faith to make the cut, but it’s worth it to build the life that you want.

Next week, I’ll talk more about the specifics of how my work has adapted to my new rhythm. Wishing you a beautiful week in the meantime!

Ashlee

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