Understanding Parkinson’s Law
C. Northcote Parkinson, (1909-1993), was a British essayist, lecturer, and economist who left us some valuable writings of his observations. One of the best is his little book Parkinson’s Law.
In this book he says:
- “work expands to meet the time envelope allowed.” Check it out – give a person a job to do with a time limit of three days to complete it and it probably won’t get done until late on the third day. Now assign the same job but allow thirty days for its completion – and you should not be surprised that it will be finished late on the 30th day!
He also noted that “a luxury, once enjoyed, becomes a necessity.” Can you remember when we did not have air-conditioned vehicles? Would you think of buying one without air-conditioning now? Not me!
And he said, “expenses rise to equal income.”
Is it true? Income is limited for us all, but our wishes far exceed our ability to fund them. When a pay raise comes along it is very quickly absorbed by a new definition of necessities!!
It doesn’t have to be this way – but it is.
Parkinson’s Law must be overcome daily.
The good news is – if you can whip Parkinson’s Law you will win by default because your peers can’t do it – and everything you do in the financial world is compared with what they are doing.
In all our efforts at establishing priorities, we should begin with a thorough consideration of the truth of Parkinson’s Law.