Coner Murphy

Published on 24 Jul 2022 | 3 Minute Read

#42 - Parkinson's Law and Deadlines

If you give a task 3 weeks, it will take 3 weeks. Give it 1, it will take 1. Here is how we can use deadlines to combat Parkinson's Law.

Photo from Unsplash
#42 - Parkinson's Law and Deadlines

Hey Friends 👋

This last week has been crazy busy for me working on Squares, my entry into the Hashnode/Planetscale Hackathon. And, with the final week now upon us, I don't think it's going to let up for at least another week. 😅

But, rather than me talking about being busy, this week I want to talk about something I've experienced and found incredibly helpful during this hackathon; deadlines.

Before this hackathon, when working on personal projects, I'd never give deadlines to anything and would instead work on tasks until they were done. But, this approach nearly always fell prey to Parkinson's Law or the adage that works expands to the time given.

So, if we look at my website redesign, the last major project I did before Squares, I didn't give myself any hard deadlines, and what happened? Work expanded to fill the time and it took much longer than it should've.

Compare this to Squares, where I know I have a deadline of 31st July, or I miss the hackathon entry time, and I'm infinitely more motivated to work on the project to the point I think I'm going mad. ðŸĪŠ

But, putting my mental state aside, the difference is clear as day to me; with deadlines, I'm more fired up and ready to work on projects. Without them, I procrastinate and put off work, letting it expand as long as possible.

So, going forward I'm going to put deadlines on projects and use them as a way to motivate me to work on things instead of putting off ideas and projects to procrastinate doing something else.

The deadlines don't need to be related to anything or have consequences. But, there needs to be a date attached to the work to trigger a sense of urgency.

Now, I have to admit I probably won't be as aggressive with deadlines as this hackathon one has been because it's been stressful. 😂

Thank you for reading as always.

Coner x

Actionable Takeaway 🏃‍♀ïļ

Use deadlines to motivate you to work on projects/tasks while also preventing them from falling prey to Parkinson's law.

Hackathon Update ðŸ’ŧ

Speaking of the hackathon, I'm happy to report there's been a lot of progress made. Minus one last component I need to sort out some data issues on, the repositories page is complete and ready for users. 🙌

On the repositories page, a user can select one of their GitHub repositories and then see the languages used in it broken down, the commits for it over the last 21 days, the contributors on it, and an overview of its statistics.

squares.so repositories page UI

So, with just a week left to go there are a few pages left to make: commits, settings, dashboard, and sign-in. But, overall, I'm not too worried because a lot of the UI components and backend work are complete or can be extended in some way. So, hopefully, the remaining work won't be too bad. 😅

...famous last words. 😂

Thought, Question, Challenge ðŸĪ”

  • Thought: A task or project will take as long as you let it take.
  • Question: Have you tried fabricating deadlines to motivate you to work before?
  • Challenge: This week, make up some deadlines for your current projects and work towards them.

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