How to Be More Productive at Work

How to Be More Productive at Work

How much of your time at work is taken up with meetings, meetings about meetings, meetings to prepare for meetings, or meetings to recap meetings?

Conversely, how much of your time at work is taken up with drawn out projects that take all the time you’ve allotted for them? Do you always seem to finish things just in the nick of time?

There is a rule that applies to both of these situationsParkinson’s Law. This law, taken from a 1955 essay in The Economist, states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

As I am writing this, I can fully appreciate the gist of what is being said. If I give myself an hour to research and write a blog, it will take an hour. If I give myself half an hour, it will take half an hour. In both scenarios, I feel like I barely skirted by the deadline. Why is this?

This law has a few ideas attached to it. There is that of procrastination – “If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute to do so.” There is the idea of data – “Data expands to fill the space available for storage.” This law also appears in economics in that “the demand upon a resource tends to match the supply of the resource.”

Going back to the original question – how much of your work is taken up with meetings (on meetings on meetings on meetings)? Parkinson’s Law says that meetings will take as much time as you give them. Too many workplaces, according to NPR’s article “So We Meet, Again” are bogged down in bad and inefficient meetings. Employee engagement and morale are consistently lowered by these drawn out gatherings – not to mention the loss of productive hours in the day.

What can be done to change this practice? Our firm believes in setting deadlines. We move cases along quickly because we set firm deadlines for ourselves and our opponents. We do not let cases sit on the backburner, expanding to fill the time we allot. Instead, we actively pursue each case we take. We are able to do this because we are selective with cases and only handle cases we believe in.

If you’ve found yourself bogged down by drawn out meetings or simply need to free up hours in the day, consider setting quicker, firm deadlines for yourself and those you work with.