“Work expands to fill the time available” Parkinson’s Law. Or written another way by Horstman, “Work contracts to fit the time we give it”. Here is an example of a typical day for many workers.
10 am – You get given a task, and mentally think it will take 2 hours to complete.
Fired up with a new task, you will just have a cup of tea before you get going.
10:15 am – Check your FaceBook and Instagram while you have your tea.
Couple of things to reply to there.
Tea’s gone cold now.
10:30 am – Right, one more tea then on with that task
10:40 am – Sit down to start a task. An email pops up you had better just deal with. Nothing major, but if you don’t reply immediately you’ll look like you are slacking.
11:00 am – Inbox cleared a bit now.
11:05 am – Task start time. Clear desk. A fresh sheet of paper. Sharpen pencil (metaphorically – who uses pencils nowadays! – Oh, what was that new pencil thing you saw on Twitter yesterday, looked interesting. Scans straight to Word.)
11:15 am – Magic pencil now on the birthday wish list. Task starts.
11:40 am – Phone rings. Urgent matter, need to pause the task and fix this. Have a cup of tea while sorting it out (multi-tasking, see!)
12:00 am – Lunch soon. Back to the task now.
12:30 pm – Lunch. No time to take a proper break – not even halfway through task yet. Grab a sandwich and work through lunch.
12:45 pm – Crumbs in the keyboard. How long have they been in there?
1 pm – Keyboard clean now. The task can resume. Re-read the brief as might have forgotten what the point of the task was.
2 pm – That was great. Really good. Task about 75% complete now. Starting to feel a bit afternoon-drowsy. Coffee to pick you up.
2:20 pm – Emails been pinging in over lunch. People wanting your opinion on their tasks. Delegating stuff to you. You’re busy enough. They need to manage their time better.
2:30 pm – Final strait now. Let’s get this task finished.
3 pm – Task finished.
3:05 pm – Maybe you should have done the task a different way
3:10 pm – Re-do first half of task as the second half is much better quality
4 pm – Now first half is better than the second half, probably good to re-do that to match the good first half
5 pm – Task finished. Go home. Don’t think about task now. Done, completed. A new task to do tomorrow
9 am – Re-do task after overnight epiphany
9:10 am – Just have a cup of tea first……