The 5 Unspoken Laws of Parkinson's Law

Summary – How Parkinson’s Law helps you get things done.

I’ve learnt about Parkinson’s Law way back when I was a student. Back then it was just like any other things that came out from my lecturer’s mouth – Incomprehensible meaningless words. There’s nothing wrong with him or his lectures, it’s just me. I’ve learnt my lesson though.

Parkinson’s Law if used correctly, will ensure that any work that need to be done WILL be done. If the deadline is 1 hour, you will finish it in 65 minutes top. Interested?

Parkinson’s Law – The What

Parkinson’s Law says that – Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.

It basically means that if you are supposed to write a 10 pages report and you set the deadline to be 2 days. It will most probably be finished in 2 days. According to Parkinson, the work will expand itself to adjust to the deadline you have set. You will start feeling the need for a more thorough research about the topic, maybe an interview or a good time spent googling. The simple 10 pages work has now expand itself to fill up the vacancy in the 2 days period.

Now that is an example of a really motivated and productive guy. Imagine what will happen to a person whose nickname is The Laziest Person On The Planet. He will start surfing the internet, watching television in the name of research, take few long nap to refresh his mind from God knows what. In the end, the 10 pages report will still only be finished after the 2 days deadline (even though based on the attitude, it will be very unlikely)

Exactly after 2 days, both of them (productive guy and lazy guy) will claim that the work done is very hard and it requires the full 2 days just to finish it.

Now this is where it become interesting. Try assigning the same work to another guy and set the deadline to be only 1 day. I can guarantee you that the work will still be finished by the deadline with almost no difference in quality (Of course we are comparing between two productive guys)

The Unspoken Law of Parkinson’s Law

1) Know the limits of low and high.
You cannot finish writing a 10 pages report in 10 minutes. That is stretching the law and you will only end up more frustrated, tense and most probably become another statistic of hypertension cases.

Experiment with the law. Let say you manage to finish the report in 2 days. Bravo! now let’s try 1.5 days. Do this until you know for certain what’s your low and high limit to Parkinson’s Law

2) Keep track.
This is actually covered in point number 1, but I think it is so important that it deserve a number too. Always keep track when you are doing the experiment. It will be a waste of time when you have done all the experiment to get your optimized deadline data but forget all about it in a year or two. Keep a book, and record everything until you can have the following conversation with your client

Client – Can you optimize the SEO of my blog for me?
You – Not a problem.
Client – When can I expect it to be finished?
You – 47 minutes.

3) Buy a timer
Now why do we need a timer when we are this motivated? The reason is because there is an unmotivated section of your mind which is equally strong, and usually it is so much smarter than your motivated section.

When you are doing your work, your unmotivated section of your mind will start to sabotage the process. Typical example is when you start to forget how much time you still have before the deadline. This is where the timer comes in. Set the sound of the timer to be as refreshingly painful as possible.

A no brainer but really, why we bother come up with a deadline if we have no idea where we are at anytime.

4) Answer to someone.
Find yourself a few friends to help you. Give them the authority to check on your progress. Now imagine that they are THE boss. I’m very sure that the work will be finished in no time. It always work for me (But with real boss)

Email them the details of your work. Maybe ask them to call you after every one hour and you must report how many pages have been done. Of course you will need to reimburse the call charges later.

The only problem with this is when the boss apprently is the laziest person in the group. You know what to do right? Fire your boss. This is the only time in your life you will be able to do this 🙂

5) Know other forms of work expansion
You set the deadline for two days, and you finish it in one. By right you have proven Parkinson wrong and that the work is not expanding. However the work does expand but this time it will be in other forms such as anxiety (wondering what if the report is rejected), or no satisfaction (You feel like starting over) or tense (arghhh)

By knowing this fact, you can save yourself a lot of therapy session in the future.

And by knowing all the 5 unspoken laws, you are finally ready to experience the full benefit of Parkinson’s Law. In another word.. your work is guaranteed done.

– I wonder –
Care to share your techniques to get things done?

———— Personal Note —————
The previous 1 week has been a very hectic week for me. VIPs were visitting the mill and you know that number infinity people keep talking about. I have that exact number of works need to be done 🙂

That was when I remembered this technique. Now the number of balance work I need to do is roughly infinity minus a few hundres.

Photo Credit – laffy4k

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The Correct Way To Argue In A Relationship

Summary – 7 rules we need to establish beforehand

Having an argument in a relationship is a very normal thing. In fact, it is a known fact that a relationship without any argument is most probably doomed to fail.

Why argument is just as important in a relationship?

It is because argument will make us see the better option in any situation. We are usually blinded with our own opinion that we fail to see another point of view of things. Yes, even if that other point of view is way better. For example, we may believe that children should not be given money. All of their money must be saved in the bank for their future. Make sense right?

However, your spouse may argue that by giving them money, they will value money better as they will now understand how hard it is to save. The more they save, the better things they can purchase later on. That is a better opinion, don’t you think?

So how exactly can we mould this argument to produce positive results instead? There is only one thing you can do, prepare for it.

Ultimate Rule of Argument Is Preparation

Always establish some ground rules before everything. Do you remember the time when love is all around? The time when she is 2 hours late on a date and you are still able to smile when she arrived. Try to sit and discuss with her these simple rules during this period of time.

Discuss this – “In the case of argument, how will the two of you solve it?”. The following are some suggestion on what both of you can agree on in this discussion.

1) Only argue when the argument can help you two become better people
There is no reason to argue about who’s taking out the trash. Somebody will still have to do it. If not, your house will start to smell. If for some reason you are stuck with this pointless argument, one of you should remind the other that this argument is just not worth it.

2) Never attack each other’s ego.
No man will stand being called a coward, just like no woman likes to be treated like a slave. Define each other’s borderline and make it known to your spouse. For example, the girlfriend doesn’t like to be scolded by her boyfriend in public, so the boyfriend should take note of this and even though he is not happy, he should raise the issue behind closed doors.

As long as we’re here, no name calling either please.

3) There should always be only one person talking at any time.
An argument will stop being helpful when it starts becoming a duet presentation by the couple. This is when the two scream at each other at the same time. Seriously, how can you know the problem when nobody is listening.

It will not help either if nobody is talking.

4) Establish that there will sometimes be one winner and one loser.
Obviously the perfect argument is when the outcome is a win-win situation. However, there are some cases when the result of an argument is one-sided. For example, if the husband has been assigned to be in charge of finance, almost all argument about finance will be won by the husband. You just cannot spend $1000 on both investment and buying things at the same time.

Set up some rules on how to be a winner or a loser. For example, the winner must always respect the losers. Laughing at losers is so 7 years old.

5) Agree on a third person.
If and only if the argument is going nowhere and both parties are not preparing to compromise. A third person must be assigned beforehand. Typical examples are like bestfriends or families. This person will then help the couple to reach an agreement. He will also have the authority to make a decision on the argument and the couple must accept it no matter what.

It is always considered a good manner not to involve the third person in all argument. He or she has a life too you know 🙂

6) Any parties can step away from the argument at anytime (cooling period).
It is very normal for anger to build up in any argument especially when it involves personal matters. The couple should agree beforehand that any one of you can request to be left alone for a period of time as a cooling period. Believe me it really helps.

When you are angry, your judgment will be clouded and you will not be able to see what the better option is. I can say that this is the hardest rule of all since anger will require all your strength just to contain it.

For more tips on anger management, you might want to read an article I wrote – How To Be The Strongest Man On The Planet.

7) Practise arguing.
This may be silly, but why not? Schedule a few time in a year to practise handling an argument. Try the cooling period request, or the third person, especially the no-ego attack rule. It can be about anything. Anything that the two of you are not in agreement. Remember, the aim is to practise these beforehand rule you established.

When the time come for the actual fight, you will know exactly what to do. And when the wife ask for a cooling period, you will understand and give her. Hey! it’s in the rule right?

– I wonder –
What other rules should be established about argument beforehand?

———— Personal Note ————-
Very recently, I had an argument with the mrs. A small one actually, more of a misunderstanding. And when we were trying to discuss it very seriously, there she was, our 4 months old daughter (Zafirah) smiling endlessly at us. And we actually stopped our argument to smile back.

We quickly wrapped up the discussion and solved the argument immediately 🙂

Photo Credit – victoriapeckham

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One Sentence That Will Flood Your House With Stuff

Summary – I may need this later

Do you know anyone in your life that buys an item just because he may need it later. For example buying 2 dozen of chairs just in case he may organize a small function at his house in the future. The fact is that he is not planning to organize the function any time soon but that has not stopped him from purchasing.

The same person will also stock up his entire garage with all kinds of gardening tools just in case he feels like gardening. We all know he will never start gardening. Sooner or later, the house will start to be filled with junk that may already be useless but they are still being kept safe in case they can be repaired later on.

I’m sure you must know at least one person with the same attitude towards buying things. As a matter of fact, every one of us do have some degree of that attitude when it comes to buying things. We often call it planning ahead, and we like to make it easier for us by buying in bulk rather than wasting time going to the store multiple times. There’s not much we can do about it. The only thing we can do is to control the intensity of the attitude. We can control it so that it will always remain a “planning ahead” instead of an obsession.

These tips may help to do exactly that.

1) Plan only one month ahead.

Only buy the chairs if you are planning to organize a small gathering THIS month. Never purchase anything that you will not be using in this month. That also goes to all the food in the fridge. If you are not going to eat it in this month, avoid buying it.

2) Start saving money for immediate use

One of the most popular reasons people buy things that they don’t really need is because they have the money now and they are afraid that by the time the items are really needed, they will be short of cash then. Hence, they cannot afford the items

Make sense, but instead of buying this in such a way, why not we save that money in a special account especially to be spent. This account is never meant for long term investment or saving. It is to be spent. You will have a lot more money to buy things and along the way, you are actually reducing the amount of unnecessary shopping.

That’s like killing two birds with only one stones (Not that I approve the killing of birds though)

3) Keep track of THE items

What are THE items? They are basically those items that appeared from nowhere with amazing deal that may make you want to surrender your entire saving if the sale person just asked.

When I was younger, I was window shopping when suddenly I saw the entire collection of FRIENDS (The Sitcom) sold at a very cheap price. I mean really cheap and I was convinced that if I didn’t buy it then, I would never stumble another similar offer ever again. I had enough money to buy it but it will cause me a few month of starvation. I chosed to walk away and a few months later, when I really had saved the money to spend on the DVDs, I forgot where exactly the shop was and it was very frustrating.

This is the second most popular reason why we buy things that we don’t need. We are afraid that the offer will be over by the time we really need it or that we totally forget where and what items to purchase.

You can try this. Everytime you decline an offer you can’t resist, take down all the details of the offer such as shop location, seller name, price, etc. By the time you are able to purchase it, you will know exactly where to get it. And if the discount is no more, believe me it will only get better.

4) Remember you are not an immortal

This is a rather pessimistic technique, but it works like a charm. You are not an immortal, You will die someday. What’s the point of collecting things that you will not be able to use it. Even though you want to give it to your children as heritage, who can guarantee that they will not sell the items or worse dump the items as rubbish.

Don’t you think it is better now to buy only what you use?

5) Shopping Approval Form

This is an idea I use to prevent buying unnecessary items. Create your personal buying approval form that asks the following questions

  • Did you plan to buy it?
  • When exactle are you going to use it?
  • Can the items be used by others?
  • Have you settle all your other financial commitment?
  • Have you shopped around for better deals?

If there is at any time one “NO” answer, you should walk away from buying it.

– I wonder –
Do you know anyone with such habit (buying but not using)? If yes, what did he/she buy?

————- Personal Note —————
I once bought a DVD player with the noble intention to catch up on my favorite movies. In just a few months, I subscribe to the movie channel HBO, Cinemax and Star Movies. And I only use the DVD player about once a month.

I know DVD player can become handy. But what the use of a handy items when you are only using it once a month.

Photo Credit – Twoblueday

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4 Tricks To Happiness You Can Try Immediately

Summary – 4 tricks to happiness you can try immediately

“The newlywed wife said to her husband when he returned from work, “I have great news for you. Pretty soon, we’re going to be three in this house instead of two.”

Her husband ran to her with a smile on his face and delight in his eyes.

He was glowing of happiness and kissing his wife when she said, “I’m glad that you feel this way since tomorrow morning, my mother moves in with us.”

/end joke

🙂 Happiness is such a wonderful feeling. Out of a sudden, you feel energetic and excited as if nothing else matters in the world. You jump, you cry and you smile. It really is amazing.

However, just like most of other feelings, happiness will deteriorate with time. And the quest to maintain and find happiness is really a challenging task even for the most optimistic person.

Any tricks that you use to find happiness? These are a few of mine.

1) Outsource doing things that you hate

Let say you dislike doing laundry but your spouse is at neutral with that task (means no inclination to both liking and disliking), why not negotiate the task. She will do the laundry while you cook dinner. Provided that you love cooking, both of you will be relatively happier each day.

2) Create a Survivor type happiness booth

Get an A4 paper, and write down all the emotion you can remember. Cut every words and put it into a box. Put the box in front of a mirror and every morning, allocate some time to be in front of the mirror and find the word happiness from the box. Show the word to the mirror and say it out loud why you choose to be happy today.

It can be exactly the same thing everyday, but subconcioiously this will help a lot in your quest to finding happiness everyday.

Whenever you are feeling “not happy”, you will immediately remember that ritual you do every morning, and you will know that that is the chance for you to choose happiness instead of other emotion. It is going to be easier to be happy if we have made that choice everyday conciously. Try it and tell me how it goes.

3) Set up secret journal of happiness

I’m not sure about you, but I always feel happier when I’m thinking about my past happy moments, like the first day I received the news that I’m going to be a father, or the day my daughter was born (Hm weird, it seems like a lot of my happiness recently comes from my daughter).

If you are just like me, I would encourage you to keep a secret journal of happiness. It can be a microsoft word file (password protected of course) with a few line to remind us of the event that make us happy.

Happy moments are like treasure. Treat it like one.

4) Do _____ just for fun

If you think about it, we never really do stuff just for the fun of it. I’m not talking about the things we like to do like football, or blogging etc. These activities usually have other benefits to us that we don’t really have fun while doing it.

Try to do one random things just for the fun of it. Go dancing under the rain, or go camera crazy at the zoo (Try to get every possible pictures you can), or sing a song at a friend’s wedding (make sure you don’t know a single word of that song)

You will be laughed at, that for sure, but you will also have a good laugh after that. And nothing brings out happiness better than a good laugh.

– I wonder –
Any secret tricks that will sure make you happy?

———– Personal Note ————-
A quick flash back to my Journal of Happiness,

Photo Credit – Jaja 1986

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