It’s not laziness and it’s not procrastination. It’s something else. But, certainly there is a tendency for a project to use up all the time that is allotted for the project, even if it could have been completed twice as fast. That tendency for work to expand is what the Parkinson’s law is all about. Watch out for that in business. It’s a killer to growth.
The law started as a bit of a joke, but things are only funny if there are truisms. If something needs to be done in a year, it’ll be done in a year. If something needs to be done in six months, then it will be done in six months. And the real lesson with the Parkinson’s law is that you need to avoid those time traps in business. They are bad for business and prevent progress.
The key: Set a target
Set a target (a deadline, a goal, whatever you want to call it). However small the task is, set a target. Things will move faster. It’s very easy to have a meeting, then you feel good because of all the action items. But, those action items take forever. That’s because you need to set a target. Always.
Deadlines force us to look at our projects differently. It puts a tiny bit of pressure and shows it’s important. If you don’t need a date, maybe it should not even be an action item. When you combine the Parkinson’s Law with the Pareto Principle, you have some business magic happening: efficiency and progress.