It’s been six long, boring, tedious hours. And there you sit with a blank screen. The cursor, blinking, mocks your lack of progress. Six hours, six hours, six hours.
You’ve had all day to write that blog post. All day. And yet, six hours have passed with nothing to show for it. Nothing but frustration and strained eyes.
This is terrible.
The power of Parkinson’s law
In my experience, whenever my day consists of doing one or two tasks, those tasks take me all day to complete. No matter how easy they are to do.
It’s classic Parkinson’s law.
If you’re not familiar with it, Parkinson’s law states that the amount of time you give yourself to complete a task is the amount of time it will take you to complete it.
- Give yourself all day to clean your home, it will take all day.
- Allot an hour to go for a run, you’ll be gone for an hour.
- Set aside a full workday for one blog post, you’ll finish with only moments to spare.
Parkinson’s law is no joke. It runs everything.
A maxed-out day
Likewise, have you ever had a number of important activities take place in one day?
- You have a big meeting in the morning with investors,
- That design you’ve been working on needs to be submitted by noon,
- And you have another meeting with a potential client in the early evening.
Seems impossible, right? How will you be able to get everything prepared and completed in time? But if you’ve been in a similar situation, you already know what I’m about to say – somehow you just get it done.
Even with the clock running out of time, you manage to get everything done and then some.
There’s no time for overthinking
When you’re busy and everything is important, you don’t have time to procrastinate. Your schedule is full. One missed deadline turns into two to three to a hailstorm of problems. And that can’t happen.
So what do you do?
You do the work.
Whatever daunting task is next up, you work on it. And when that’s done, you quickly move to the next one. You don’t worry about perfection or what can go wrong or what so-and-so will think about yada-yada. You. Don’t. Have. Time. For. That.
Do more in a single day
It’s Parkinson’s law in reverse. Instead of having a minor task swell into a full day, you manage to cram numerous major events into that same amount of time.
Now, this may come across as unorthodox, but if procrastination is plaguing you day after day, I suggest that you fill your time with more.
A full day to write a blog post? No. Record a video and post on social that same day. A full day to prepare for a brief meeting? No. Reach out to new customers, go for a run, and finish a project report that same day.
It’s just like baseball…
When I was a kid, I played a lot of sports. One of which was baseball. I was pretty good. But I had this one particular problem…
The longer I had to think about throwing the ball, the worse my throw would be.
If the other team was running towards Home and I had a split second to get the ball to the catcher, I could get the ball to his glove from dozens of yards away. No problem. But, if the ball came my way and there was no rush to throw the batter out at First, more often than not my throw would go sideways.
That’s why I normally played First: I wouldn’t have to throw the ball as much. *I don’t know if that’s the actual reason but it would make sense, right?
You won’t have time to procrastinate
When your schedule is light, it’s like having plenty of time to throw the batter out. You overthink it. You overanalyze it. And just like that, you blow your opportunity.
But when you have no time to think, you do exactly what you need to do, exactly when you need to do it.
That is your life when you have more than one important thing planned for the day. Procrastination isn’t even an option. So when you next find yourself putting off that blog post, elect to fill your day with more.
Otherwise, you’ll find yourself on the bench.