It took me all day to lick this envelope

tick tock

tick tock

You’ve probably heard of the phenomenon where work expands to fill the time available for it’s completion.  It’s called Parkinson’s Law.

For example, if your entire to-do list for the day involves going to the post office and having lunch, then it is entirely possible that you can and will stuff quite a bit of ‘filler’ at the start, and end of these activities.

Perhaps you’ll faff over your outfit, wonder if it’s really cold enough for the coat. Breakfast dishes and other minor chores pop up, something on the radio, need to look for the ID for that form.  Is the car registration form still valid?   Where to park? etc etc.

You finally get to the post office around 11am, lunch eventually gets assembled at 2pm, and then phew! it’s nearly the end of the day! Sort of.  Somehow going to the Post Office became the pinnacle of your achievement for that day.  Nothing wrong with that if you have no greater desires, but not exactly productive.

The same principle could be applied to our working lives.  We have been told, by the government and by ‘experts’ that we should work until we turn 65, and that it will take most of our adult lives to accumulate enough money to retire.  And so, the task inevitably takes that long, simply because the objective becomes massively inflated in perceived complexity and difficulty and then inevitably expands to fill the allotted time.

You see where I’m going here? Accumulating enough money to retire and buy your own freedom doesn’t have to take that long….

You get to choose how long it takes!

Decide the time available for work’s completion and the work will fall into line.





7 thoughts on “It took me all day to lick this envelope

  1. Alicia @ Financial Diffraction

    I experience this frequently. I find I’m so much more productive when I’m busy. The thing is, I’m also more frazzled… so I don’t know if I need to just accept that component of it, or do I need to learn how to be as productive when I am not jammed for time?

  2. MapleSpaceHamster

    Ha ha, I find it’s all to easy when doing work at home to say “Oh, I’ll just watch an episode of this show I’ve all ready watched before.” Before I know it the morning disappears as I keep on rolling to the next episode.

    It’s interesting thinking of how this works over a long span of time.

  3. Pingback: It Took Me All Day to Lick This Envelope - Rockstar Finance

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