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Mental Models
Featured Models

Parkinson’s Law

You don't have enough time to do that thing? Parkinson's Law says otherwise.  Parkinson’s Law states that ‘work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion’.  TIMEBOXING AND FORCING FUNCTIONS.  Parkinson's Law describes your tendency to work faster, smarter, or simply prioritise effectively when you impose a shorter deadline. Key techniques that flow from this mental model include timeboxing, which sets defined time constraints for a meeting or task, and forcing functions which involves committing to a deadline or launch as a defining limit — see the Actionable Takeaways below for more.  KILL PERFECTIONISM.  Parkinson’s Law is typically applied to productivity, as it encourages you to stop procrastinating and/or challenge perfectionism by reducing the amount of time you assign for each task. However, the principle behind Parkinson's Law can be used to explain broader phenomena where the demand for any resource tends to match its supply. BEYOND TIME.  Consider this mental model in relation to earning more money and watching your living costs increase; moving into a larger house only to fill it within a few months; using a bigger plate and eating more; or taking a large shopping trolley at the supermarket only to purchase more groceries. In that sense, this model is a reminder to apply structural constraints, even relatively arbitrary ones, to limit how much of a resource (money, things, food, shopping or yes, time) that you use. Rather than simply apply it to projects, consider how you might use a broader view of Parkinson's Law to challenge your meeting agendas, lifestyle choices, and the design of your home.  IN YOUR LATTICEWORK.  Parkinson's Law inherently requires prioritising high-value activity and works well with the Pareto Principle and the Impact Effort Matrix, as well as other prioritisation models. It is also worth considering this model in the context of the Law of Diminishing Returns. 

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