How to Use the Power of Parkinson's Law for Productivity
How to Use the Power of Parkinson's Law for Productivity

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In the quest for greater productivity, we often find ourselves trapped in the clutches of never-ending to-do lists, endless deadlines, and an overwhelming sense of urgency.

We search for strategies that can help us make the most of our time and resources.

Enter Parkinson's Law, a concept that challenges conventional wisdom and offers a unique perspective on productivity.

In this blog post, we will explore Parkinson's Law, its research-backed principles, and how you can harness its power to supercharge your productivity.

Understanding Parkinson's Law

Parkinson's Law, coined by British historian Cyril Northcote Parkinson in 1955, states that "work expands to fill the time available for its completion." In simpler terms, tasks tend to take up as much time as we allocate for them, regardless of their complexity. Whether it's writing a report, completing a project, or responding to emails, the time we allocate for these tasks often dictates the time they consume.

Research Supporting Parkinson's Law

Numerous studies have provided empirical evidence supporting the validity of Parkinson's Law.

Researchers at Tel Aviv University conducted a study in which participants were asked to complete a series of tasks with varying time limits.

The study found that individuals consistently finished the tasks within the time allotted, even when the time limits were adjusted. This demonstrated the consistent presence of Parkinson's Law in our everyday lives.

Another study by Alessandro Bucciol and Marco Piovesan, published in the Journal of the European Economic Association, examined the impact of deadlines on productivity.

The researchers found that when deadlines were imposed, individuals were more likely to complete tasks within a shorter timeframe, compared to when no deadlines were present.

This study further highlighted the influence of Parkinson's Law on our behavior.

Leveraging Parkinson's Law for Productivity

Now that we have an understanding of Parkinson's Law and its research-backed principles, let's explore how we can leverage this concept to enhance our productivity. Here are three strategies you can employ:

  1. Set Clear and Ambitious Deadlines: Parkinson's Law suggests that tasks expand to fit the time allocated for their completion. By setting clear and ambitious deadlines, you can create a sense of urgency and focus that drives productivity. Break down your larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks with specific deadlines, ensuring that they are challenging yet attainable.

  2. Practice Time Boxing: Time boxing involves assigning fixed time blocks for specific tasks or activities. By allocating a specific amount of time for each task, you can prevent them from expanding beyond necessary. This approach also helps prioritize tasks and keeps you accountable for completing them within the designated time frame.

  3. Embrace the Power of Constraints: Parkinson's Law implies that constraints can foster creativity and productivity. By intentionally limiting the time or resources available for a task, you force yourself to think more efficiently and make quick decisions. This encourages innovative problem-solving and prevents unnecessary time wastage.


Parkinson's Law provides a paradigm shift in our understanding of productivity. By recognizing that tasks expand to fill the time allotted for their completion, we can leverage this law to our advantage.

Through setting clear deadlines, practicing time boxing, and embracing constraints, we can harness the power of Parkinson's Law to unlock enhanced productivity and accomplish more in less time.

So, let's challenge the status quo, break free from time-wasting habits, and embrace the art of efficient productivity. Remember, it's not about the amount of time we have; it's about how we choose to use it.