“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” This is known as “Parkinson’s Law”. 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.
 Parkinson’s Law is an adage first articulated by Cyril Northcote Parkinson in his humorous essay published in The Economist in 1955. Wikipedia.