Tasks Expand to Fill Time

Summer is finally here, and I’m tired of working seven days a week. It’s easy to work long hours, especially when you run your own business because tasks expand to fill time. If I continue to work at this rate, summer will be over, and I will have missed it. So, I’ve made a commitment to stop working on the weekends until the fall – and hopefully into the fall. Now, I have to figure out how to do that.

Nighttime view of a laptop on a desk with an illuminated table lamp representing how tasks expand to fill time.
Image by cottonbro studio on Pexels.

Actually, I know how to do that because I explain it to my clients all the time. It’s a corollary of Parkinson’s Law – tasks expand to fill time. This means that if you think you have ample time to do your work, the tasks will take all the time you have available. Whereas, if you set a limit or deadline such as, “I have complete [list of tasks] between Monday morning and Friday afternoon,” you will be amazed at how quickly you can accomplish the work.

For example, think about how much you can accomplish before your vacation. If you’re taking a week or two off, you tend to focus and just do it. You might have to adopt the ‘done is better than perfect‘ philosophy or drop a few things altogether. And chances are, done is better than perfect, and the tasks you decide to drop now will be easier to complete after your vacation.

What techniques do you use to help you focus and complete your tasks? Share your experience in the comments!

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