Leveraging Parkinson’s Law to Push Out Content


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One of the sneaky things about blogging is the treadmill of content you have to produce. You may think you know a lot about your niche, but when you have to produce 1, 2, or 5 pieces of content every week you may soon find the well running dry fast.

There are plenty of tips out there to solve this. You can use tools to find out what other people in your niche are writing about. You can go to Quora and browse question topics. You can go back and update an old blog post. But where do really creative and new ideas come from?

I’d like to offer a suggestion on how to force creativity out of your brain. It’s called Parkinson’s Law. The formulation is “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” This originally referred to bureaucracies and their tendency to expand over time in the book that formulated the idea, but we’re going to leverage it a different way.

If you give yourself five hours to write a blog post, most likely you will not focus hard for the entire five hours. Instead you will find other tasks to fill the time and spread out the work over the time span. Even if you do focus the whole time the focus will be half-hearted.

However, if you limit your deadline to something short, most people can get a lot of work done very quickly. College students know this all too well, rushing to get their papers done before deadline. But you don’t have to set up your time so that you’re writing things at the last minute. Instead, give yourself two hours or even one hour to write the best article you can in a focused burst.

The key to making this trick work is to drop the task as soon as the time is up. Do not go back to it and tinker. Save that for another day or for a few hours afterward. You have to make your brain think that you only have so much time to finish an article before its due. If you really want to be brave, go ahead and push it to the deadline!

Not only will you be able to get your work done faster, but forcing your brain to work faster can have a very curious effect on creativity. If you know the deadline is coming up and there’s no way around it, you can discover new ideas and connections far faster than you thought you could.

So, instead of letting your work drag out over a long time, force yourself to complete tasks in a very short amount of time instead. You’ll find that you’ll be able to get far more done than you thought and you may stumble upon the next big idea.

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3 Responses to “Leveraging Parkinson’s Law to Push Out Content”

  • Sham

    I found this article and interesting read as I have battle with this all the time. Good hints on how to get posts done!

  • Vinay

    Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve visited your blog before but after looking at many of

    the articles I realized it’s new to me. Regardless, I’m definitely delighted I stumbled

    upon it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back regularly

  • Benjamin Carter-Riley

    I have a weekly schedule with set tasks each day that I need to accomplish within a given time, and have to make sure that I don’t go over that time limit that I’ve given myself (making sure not to tinker afterwards). If you want to get things done I think you must set a schedule for yourself and use Parkinson’s law to stay focused.

    P.S I love this post, and I’m going to tweet it as soon as I’ve finished writing this comment! 🙂

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