So what we really need is less hours in the day? Sounds crazy, right? Allow me to explain! I can probably guarantee you’ve heard of Murphy’s Law. The law states that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. The details of the story of origin are a little fuzzy but here’s the short version: Edwards Airforce Base; a project about deceleration and how well humans can tolerate crashes; and a frustrated engineer names Edward A. Murphy cursing a technician for repeatedly making mistakes. Another Colonel on the base, John Paul Stapp, MD, was considered a pioneer in the study of acceleration and deceleration. During a press conference, Dr. Stapp used the phrase Murphy’s Law in relation to reliability and dependability and the press latched on to it.
It’s not necessarily a negative, doom and gloom approach to things, but rather an “Expect the best and plan for the worst” philosophy. What does that look like for a mom? Packing an extra pair of clothes (or two) when leaving for the day. Bringing TWICE the amount of snacks you think you will need. Keeping a roll of paper towels in your car. Knowing that if you want to get somewhere on time, you should plan on being there a solid 30 minutes early so that you can account for any extra trips to the bathroom and having to return home because you forgot those snacks on the counter.
Now I want to introduce you to our good friend, Parkinson’s Law. Remember during college when you were given 8 weeks to complete an assignment that would count for 60% of your grade. Each week passed and you never once re-read the assignment. The professor would make multiple mentions of the project and each time you thought to yourself “I have plenty of time for that.” Fast forward and the assignment is due in 3 days! How did that happen? Time to cram eight weeks of research and coursework into 72 hours. Final revisions are made and you head to class exhausted but relieved to pass in your assignment. As you are walking (or in my case rollerblading) to class, you can’t help but wonder why you didn’t start working on the project earlier. Why did you leave it to the last minute? Will the paper be good enough? We’re talking about 60% of your final grade!
A week later you are rewarded with a solid B+. You take on some extra credit and end up with an A- for the class and all is well. This, my friends, is Parkinson’s Law in practice! Turns out, we actually benefit from having LESS time to complete a task! Mind blowing, right?
Try it! Don’t just tell yourself you want to have your daughter’s birthday party planned early this year. Tell yourself you want to have it planned by the end of the weekend. From the guest list and invites to the favors and the cake. I’m talking about ALL OF IT. BY SUNDAY NIGHT. Setting short, tight deadlines will force you to accomplish the task at hand with more efficiency. Confession: I’m a little competitive and sometimes I make tasks like a game and set a timer to see if I can “win.” Ok, I'm a LOT competitive!
I’m always looking for ways to be more efficient. Whether it be a quick and simple dinner in my trusty crock pot, grabbing a cooked rotisserie chicken from the market, ordering my favorite Lara Bars by the case or cleaning the bathroom during bath time, I love creating and sharing ways to make life easier and thus, more fun!
So stop cursing Murphy’s Law and start shaking your pompoms for Parkinson’s Law! Give me a P…”P!” Give me an A…”A!” Give me an R…”R!” Okay, you get the point. Don't let projects drag along and drag you down with them. Ask yourself what mundane, joy sucking task can you make more fun (and go by faster) by setting a timer at the outset and creating a self-imposed deadline?