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You can experience Parkinson’s Law without even knowing it exists:

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for it’s completion”

Cyril Northcote Parkinson, The Economist, 1955

I’ve found something else is also true, though I’ve not yet found the law by name:

“If I’m not careful, the work will spill over the time I’ve allotted for its completion and affect another task.”

(maybe we’ll call this my law, if no one else has claimed it)

A good friend of mine recently helped me see that I’m especially prone to “my” law, because I’m optimistic when I estimate how long a thing will take during the planning phase (a  good trait), and I’m thorough in the execution phase (another good trait).  Those two, however, working together, can result  in serious time-over-runs on my projects (not what I want to be known for).

In his work, “Your Time and Your Life”, Charles Hobbs describes a valuable, easy-to-use tool;  a block of UN-scheduled time available for the unexpected.  I call mine Fuses.

I schedule mine, one each morning, and another during the afternoon. They’re 30 minute fuses that allow a project to take longer than I thought, an unannounced guest to stop by, or a tire to go flat – without ruining everything else on the day’s itinerary.

I’ve found I have to plan them in, they don’t just happen (if you’re a type-A like me you know how that goes).  But I’m glad for them – they’ve saved my neck (or at least my sanity) more than once.

Try putting fuses to work  for a week, maybe two. See if you don’t appreciate your time-fuses as much as I enjoy mine.

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