“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” This is known as “Parkinson’s Law”[1]. I’ve been testing it out and so far it does seem true.

I’m working more jobs than I ever have before: 4.5 days a week between two jobs, plus a part-time research degree, and working with an editor on my novel. And now I a new deadline for my research: 35,000 words by June.

I’m six months into a MPhil that my supervisor is encouraging I upgrade to a PhD and get a scholarship so that I can work less money-jobs and achieve more with my writing. I’m all for this, but 35,000 words? By June?? Not that words are generally a problem (as any regular readers of this blog would attest to this) still when I consider doing this as well as working so many other jobs, I start to freak out.

“Am I overdoing it?” I asked my dad on the weekend. “Am I going to give myself a nervous breakdown?”

He laughed. “As long as you also put a little time to maintain your health – go for your walks and do your pilates – you’ll be fine.” He reminded me of all the people that work full-time and do uni full-time. “It’s possible to do it all, and you will look back and ask yourself: How did I do it? But you do. You just get it done.”

That was when I remembered Parkinson’s Law.

I think it’s true: whatever deadlines you set for a task, that’s how long the task will take.

If I set myself the task of 35,000 words by June, I will do it. I know I will.

One month in to this crazy schedule I’m surprised to say that it is going rather well. Even with buying a kombi, doing a weekend away, and having it break down, to add to the craziness that is currently my life. I think the trick is not to think – just DO.

My mind has started to approach the world differently. This situation is forcing me to live fully in each moment.

I’ve had moments where I think I’m going to send myself crazy – but they only come when I am thinking about everything I’m doing. If I look at my week as a whole, at where I am using my time, I feel overwhelmed.

But if I live in the present, always focused on doing rather than thinking about doing, I am happy and extraordinarily productive.

On that note, it’s time for a walk.

[1] Parkinson’s Law is an adage first articulated by Cyril Northcote Parkinson in his humorous essay published in The Economist in 1955. Wikipedia.