Parkinson’s Law┬áis that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.

Give yourself a day to complete a task and it will take a day. Give yourself an hour and it will take an hour.

This is the big problem with 9-5 work schedules. 8 hours of work (minus lunch) does not get completed. It’s probably more like 5 hours worth and the rest of the day is spent killing time. In some cases, the real, hardcore work that makes the difference is done in an hour and the rest of the time is filled with meaningless or sub-optimal tasks.

Pareto’s Law is that 20% of the work results in 80% of the outcomes. The ratios change and it is applied to many other things but for our purposes let’s talk about work. Here Pareto’s Law and Parkinson’s Law tie in quite nicely. The 20% of work is the hour-or-so a day of real hardcore work. This is where the greatest progression comes from.

Now the question is, how do we get that 20% of work done? How about using the often written about Pomodoro Technique? Set a timer for 25 minutes and concentrate on the task at hand. After 25 minutes take a break and repeat the process again. That real, hardcore work can be broken up into segments like this. After a few round of this (anywhere from 3 to 6) you should have completed the most important work for the day.

When I work on projects I try to utilize the three principles above. Call it time management if you want, I like to think of it as getting shit done.

I remember it as 3Ps.

Parkison’s Law

Pareto Principle

Pomodoro Technique

It won’t work for everyone or everything, but if you have time constraints and need to get shit done, give it a go.