Saturday, January 31, 2015

Parkinson’s Law - or how Lack of Limits Leads to Laziness

Traditionally, Parkinson's law is the adage that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion". But I think my version - Lack of Limits Leads to Laziness - is more memorable.

I've experienced this first hand recently. I've recently taken some time off. First I took this past summer off, for travel with the family. Then when my kids started school, I planned on doing a combination of personal projects, and a more extensive job search than what I normally do, to find a job that really suits me.

However, in reviewing the past few months, I'd have to say I'm disappointed in what I got done - EXCEPT in the weeks between when I accepted a job offer, and when the job actually started (last week). Somehow that fixed deadline, after which I'd have very little spare time, got me to actually get going on some projects that I'd been delaying for quite some time.

I'm not going to theorize about why merely having a hard and fast limit - a deadline - inspires people to be more active. A lot of ink has been spilled on that topic. But I'm a firm believer in deadlines - the more rigorous and "real", with penalties, the better.

As a matter of fact, that's how this blog post is getting written! A friend and I have an agreement. We've mailed each other checks, made out to organizations that we do NOT believe in. If one of us doesn't fulfill this agreement - which relates to regular blogging - then the other will actually mail in the check to the organization. It works like a charm!  Check out this article for some additional info.


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