While watching the awesome movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, my 7-year-old daughter was captivated by a scene featuring an animal that shrinks or grows to match the size of its environment. In the movie, this size-shifting beast has taken over the giant attic of a department store, and the ceiling is in danger of caving in from the weight, threatening the lives of the main protagonists. To save the day, the main character throws a tasty bug into a teapot; the gigantic animal dives into the teapot after it, shrinking as it lands safely inside the small container, eliminating all danger. I chuckled to myself as I watched, realizing this story about a make-believe creature was essentially teaching my child the invaluable business lesson of Parkinson’s Law.
Just as the fantasy beast grew or shrank to fit its environment, Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion. When you apply this rule to business, you realize if you allow only 15 minutes to complete a specific task (instead of an hour, a day, or a week), then you find a way to prioritize, streamline, and get it done in the time allotted. If you give the same task two or three hours, it will feel like it takes three hours to complete, though much of the extra time will actually be spent worrying, stressing, or procrastinating.
ichalowicz takes Parkinson’s Law to the next level by applying the concept to money. He encourages readers to reduce the amount of available cash sitting in the business bank account. Once you perceive a lesser amount of money available for spending, you automatically shrink your business spending, and thereby you increase profit overall.
Built on time and also an effective tool for streamlining money, I wondered how else Parkinson’s Law might benefit business. What else could it shrink? My to-do list? My calendar? My whole day?
In 2017, I was given the perfect opportunity to find out. I had recently given birth to my second daughter (read more about this transition here), and I was working with my coach to figure out my revised schedule. We determined that, after being a mom to my two girls and also setting aside valuable time for my self-care and personal development, I had about 18 hours available to work in any given week. Given that I’d been working 40 hours a week before my daughter arrived, this was a big reduction.
As I set up my new schedule, though, I found the same work, clients, and income that had previously taken me 40+ hours now fit perfectly into just 18 hours a week! My new schedule was proof of the effectiveness of Parkinson’s Law. Was it easy to make the shift? No, but it wasn’t the most difficult thing to do, either. It meant making a few changes, including automating some services, streamlining others, recording videos, switching from 60-minute calls to 45-minute client sessions, limiting prospecting appointments to three per week, and shifting away from in-person meetings to reduce travel time by operating virtually.
The phenomenal thing is that by making these changes, I discovered that, rather than being put out by my schedule revisions, people valued my time MORE! I accomplished MORE in less time, I was MORE focused on offering the services that I LOVE, and I made MORE money. I cut out the “fluff,” and I discovered my interactions with others were more effective and streamlined. Together, we got straight to the point, accomplished our work, and went on saving the world through business!
How will you take advantage of Parkinson’s Law? How will you apply it to your money? Your time?
Imagine that giant magical beast from the movie is your business. Take stock, pull out your teapot, and shrink down the problem you’re facing by setting a limit on the amount of time you going to put in to fix it. Then get it done. Mike Michalowicz will be proud!
P.S. Questions about Parkinson’s Law and your business? Other burning business questions keeping you up at night? Use #askABP on IG, and we will make sure you get an answer EVERY. SINGLE. TIME!