In this post I would like to talk to you about Parkinson’s Law and its meaning. When I was 17 I started studying COU, the course before going to the University in Spain. I was still hesitating between studying medicine or opting for ESADE (in case of being admitted). And just a year ago I had fulfilled one of my dreams, to be a tennis coach. I started with 16 years working only on Thursday afternoons and Saturday mornings. I had always been more excited to be a coach than a player. At that time I was discovering my passion for teaching. In the course I was beginning, the new director of the school offered me again to work on Thursday afternoons and Saturday mornings.
However, a few days after starting the course I received her call in which she asked me to cover the dismissal of a senior coach who would not finally join our club. The proposal made me very excited. It meant working from Monday to Friday in the afternoon and Saturday mornings and above all, being considered a full-time coach. I was elated. When I mentioned it at home, my parents were not so excited. I had just started my last year before college and they knew I had to study to prepare for selectivity and college. They told me that the most important thing was studies (great advice). But my parents let me decide what I believed, always enjoying great freedom and trust on their part. After thinking about it for several days, I accepted the job offer with the agreement that if I didn’t get good results in my studies, I would stop working.
And I have to tell you that it was one of the best years of my life academically. I had little time because I left school and went to train every day and did not come home until 9:30 at night. I had to organize myself well, take advantage of the little time available. I discovered that many times, the less time you have, the better you take advantage of it. And this learning has always accompanied me throughout my life. I discovered many years later that this idea is known as “Parkinson’s Law”. This law was enunciated by the British Cyril Parkinson in 1957 affirming that “the work expands until filling the time available for it to finish“. And in my opinion, it is an important law not only for personal development and productivity but also for team management.
And Parkinson’s law also has an application at the level of economic resources. Parkinson affirmed that “expenses increase until they cover income” or that projects usually consume at least the allocated budget. Also, of great importance for project management and for any challenge in which a budget is necessary.
Again, I relate it to my last year in school studying COU. I was crazy to turn 18 and be able to get my driving license. I had always been passionate about motorbikes and wanted to buy a motorbike when I turn 18. My parents, who were not enthusiastic about the idea, offered to buy me a car. If I wanted the motorcycle I had to pay for it myself, but if I wanted the car my parents would pay it. The bike I liked was a Honda CBR 600F and it cost 926,000 pesetas in 1992 (almost € 6,000). I worked hard and at the end of the course I could have saved just the amount of the motorbike, which was what I had earned as a coach for a whole year and all my previous savings. Once again, Parkinson’s law was fulfilled. When you have little time and few financial resources, you are much more efficient.
Because as Zig Ziglar said, “many people often complain about the lack of time, when their real problem is the lack of direction”.