Do you remember, how during your college days, you used to read till late night to cover up the syllabus just a week before the examination or how did you manage to complete an assignment just an hour before the deadline? In a business or professional environment also these kinds of examples could be found everywhere. People tend to take up the whole period allotted to them to complete the job or a project or an assignment. We have a predilection to wait until the deadline and adjust the speed of accomplishing a job accordingly. It comes naturally. This is what Parkinson’s Law teaches us. According to Parkinson’s Law, “Work Expands to fill the time available for its completion.” Actually, this is not the work that expands but the human mind assesses the time available for a job and directs the body and brain to act accordingly so that it can use up the full time allotted to perform that job. This is the reason why your team or subordinates take the whole period to accomplish their jobs or a project. If you could shorten the time just a little bit, they will take that whole time once again but this time the same types of jobs or the project will take lesser time than before. It’s a common tendency of the human brain to expend the time given for a job completely. If you reduce the time a little bit more for the same jobs or projects, the subordinates or team will work according to the deadline.
Parkinson’s Law teaches managers to allot time and target to optimize output. The famous British Naval Historian, Cyril Northcote Parkinson proposed this amazing law in his book “Parkinson’s Law” in 1955. Though the context of Parkinson’s Law was different when the author proposed it, it is still relevant and true. In fact, the experts and researchers have expanded it in different other contexts too like in technology, human resource management, operation management, etc. Managers can use this law to fix deadlines, keep their employees engaged, and enhance the organizational output.
Parkinson’s Law can be very effective in management practices, especially in handling deadline-based projects or target-oriented assignments. The law possesses a huge potential in changing the way managers assign jobs to their teams or employees to manage their working hours. Parkinson’s Law needs more discussion and awareness, especially at the managerial levels. It can solve multiple problems and bring more professionalism to an organization.