Episode 142- Parkinson’s Law

Parkinson’s Law

If you hang around me long enough, you gonna hear some of the same things repeated often, most especially when I put on the business hat or the public coaching hat. The idea of Parkinson’s law will come up relatively often. In simplest terms, Parkinson’s law is the idea that work expands to the time that you allot it. Understanding this, correcting the past that you went through and the awful habit you been taught in school and at previous jobs, learning this, understanding this, and eventually, hopefully mastering this will be something where you see your productivity increase while working less and obviously making more money. And I am really hesitant to say things like that because I am so tired of the whole passive income, make a whole lot of money and so little time that’s being sold over and over again in this world that I’m in. I’m not talking about some get-rich-quick scheme or some course you gonna buy for me that will magically do this for you. The truth is you can magically do this for yourself without buying anything. What you simply need to do is figure out what things you do that are productive. What things you do monotonously, habitually, that are not productive and doing much less of the latter, and much more even just a little bit more of the former.

Now I’ve known this for years. I studied this. I even wrote about this in my book and it is probably 3 or 3 1/2 years ago that I even wrote about it so obviously I’d known about it. But I’ve not been able perfect it. I still have not perfected it . I’m a lot better than I used to be but it’s not close to perfect. But I want to give you a small example of this. We hit the road while on our thank you tour nearly 2 years ago. There was absolutely no doubt that I wasn’t going to be able put in nearly as many work hours while we’re on the road as I was doing before. So, we hit the road. We had the bills paid. We have the places that we’re going to stay at. They are all paid for. I realize that we are to make enough hours for me to do what I need to get done workwise. Beyond that, this was an adventure for our family and I wasn’t focused at all on growing the business. Quite honestly, the mindset wasn’t even about maintaining what we had. We were perfectly fine if it dropped somewhat because we knew at that point, that was not our focus. Our focus was to do this tour, to spend time with the kids and all these different places that we’re gonna enjoy and not miss out on the experience for work or the ability to grow the business some more.

So, all in all, I had about 10 hours a week to work, maybe 15 if Elizabeth took the kids out for a day and I didn’t go with them. Those numbers were way down from when I was working in the previous month as we got the book ready, as I did the podcast interviews, as we did things to build business. So, reducing those hours is obviously to reduce our income. So, once we got to Arizona which was the first stop on our tour, I began to embrace the livestock. I love the idea of when I worked, I dove right into work and I stopped as quickly as I could when I was done then I moved on to hang out with the family going on adventures together throughout the state and just enjoying everything around us. And taking a step back and not focusing on business growth gave me an entirely different perspective on the work that I was doing. As much as I talked about Parkinson’s law before, how we utilize it in past businesses, with each new business. I would tend to lose sight of it as the business was growing. That’s why I hate so much people talking about passive income, people that are stuck while doing wanting passive income because they want short-term success quickly and it’s never the case. I wouldn’t say never but almost every single time. It’s not the case. 

So, for us, every single business success started with a lot of hard work and a lot of grinding and getting the ball rolling then getting it stabilized and then optimizing it to give us the freedom that were looking for from it. But this situation was very interesting so that taught me a lot. I didn’t think I was going to learn on this trip because near the end of March, almost 3 months since we got to Arizona, we were then in Utah after coming from Monterey, California, and we were driving from Utah to Durango, Colorado and the kids were quiet and tired in the back, Elizabeth and I started doing some business planning and some ideas that turned out to be a lot of the seeds of what we’re doing today in many different ways. It was like all of a sudden, that quiet and that calm and the silence that came from all that freedom, it was like once we’re on our way back East, the ideas just started exploding from our heads. We started mapping it all out and we realize something to the four corners that we’ve established, the vision for the next level of what we were working on. What I also realized was that I hadn’t done very much work in the previous three months. I had reduced the amount of hours that I worked tremendously. And looking at the numbers, our business grew while we were on the road. 

Now deep down I knew, it can happen but we’ve never done anything like this before. We’ve never taken that amount of time with so little dedicated focus time on the business. Now as much as I believed in Parkinson’s law and it worked because we’ve done before, that was when I realized how incredibly powerful it truly was because your work really does expand to the time you allow for it. So, while I was at home, before we left, I allowed for a lot more time for the work. I got done what we need to get done and we did well but when we were on the road I reduced those amounts of times, I had to condense everything I used to do at home and all those hours into much fewer hours while we’re on the road. I still got the same amount of work done because with less hours to work, I had to intently focus on what was the most important things to do. If you only have 10 hours a week to work, you’re not going to mess around on meaningless things. You’re only going to go to the things that matter, that are gonna help grow, that are gonna help relationships and then you can move on. By eliminating the things that matter the least, it allowed me to only focus on the things that matter the most. And this is the thing that so many of my clients that are employees struggle with while they try to build their business is understanding this theory because they’re so used to trading their time for money. They’re so used to being on the clock from this time for that time. But even just the idea of condensing their work into really short period of time is uncomfortable to do and it doesn’t even make sense in their world because they need to be there anyway. They’re getting paid for those hours and they’ve got to do work throughout it. So, what I determine for me in the past and for them now is it creates terrible work habits.

Now it might seem to be impossible to do but think about how many hours you work. Let’s say it is 40 hours a week. Let’s say that you have to get all that done in 10 hours. Now I know you think it’s not possible, there is too much stuff but I would challenge you on that. If you only had 10 hours to do all the work you need to do, how would you work differently? Now maybe you wouldn’t get all that done in that time but maybe you would find more efficient ways of doing the work. Maybe it would force you to find other people that do certain parts of those jobs better than you and allowing them to do it. Maybe you’d realize that 15 hours are completely wasted on nonsense. If you realize this is true, what would your life be like if you could be just as successful as you are now possibly more while working 1/4 of the time? What would you do with those extra 30 hours a week? This is how the successful will become more successful, not just in business but in life. Because if you took 10 of those hours and pump them back into your business the same way you do those first 10 hours, you’re going to be a lot more successful. And if you took the other 20 hours and you put it into your family, into your relationships, into your health, think about that would be like. You are going to spend five more hours exercising in a week. You would spend 10 more hours a week just with your family and dedicated time you’re focused. Another five hours where you just get to do what you want, laying on the couch, reading a book, playing a game, watch your show, doing whatever. All-around it is good for your life. 

So, I just want to bring this idea to you and just let you know what Parkinson’s law done for our life in our business and our time and our family. I hope you can take this and do the same thing or at least something similar for yourself. I talked about Parkinson’s law in my book Freelance To Freedom, I haven’t mentioned it in a while but if you’d like a free audio version of the book, I give it away on our website. So just go to members.totallifefreedom.com and in the top right corner is an orange button it says free audiobook. click on that and get the free version of the book. I hope you enjoy it and I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

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