Work Smarter, Not Harder Part II: Parkinson’s Law and Pomodoro Technique
In my last post, I discussed ways in which freelancers could work smarter, not harder. In this blog, I’ll discuss some further methods that I personally use to get shit done.
If you’re all about productivity, you may already be familiar with Parkinson’s Law. First appearing in the opening lines of The Economist way back in 1955, the proverb simply states, “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”
Trust me, this isn’t physics (I mean, I’m a writer, I got straight F’s in physics in college. E = MCT2 whaaa?). Basically, this statement, when broken down into laymen terms, implies that if you allocate an hour to write an email, you’ll write that email in 60 minutes. If you give yourself all day to write an email, it’ll probably take you all damn day.
To put Parkinson’s Law in effect for yourself, make a list of your top three tasks for the day and then divide them up by the amount of time it takes to complete each task. Then give yourself half that time to complete them. You have to see making the time limit as crucial. Treat it like any other deadline. Part of reversing what we’ve been indoctrinated with (work harder, not smarter) is to see the deadlines you set for yourself as unbreakable – just like the deadlines your boss or clients set.
This technique can help you power through distractions and get things done in short bursts, while taking frequent breaks to come up for air. Invented in the early 90’s, the Pomodoro Technique is aimed at breaking work down into short timed intervals that are spaced out with short breaks.
Simply choose a project that needs to get done, work on the task none stop for 25 minutes, and take a five minute break. Every four intervals, take a longer break of up to 15-30 minutes. Repeat this process over the course of a workday and it’s amazing what you can get accomplished!