Ep 134: How to Use Parkinson’s Law to Be Empowered + Productive

Parkinson’s Law states that the time you give yourself to complete a task is how long you will take to complete a task. However long you decide you’re going to spend on a project is how long you’re going to spend on that project. This thought, this way of living can really change everything for us. It is so, so empowering because it means we are in control of so much more than we give ourselves credit for or like to admit. Let’s talk about it!

 

 

 

 

In This Episode Allie Discusses:

  • What Parkinson’s Law is

  • How to apply it to small projects and tasks

  • How to apply it to big projects and tasks

  • How to apply it when you have a million interruptions or kids

  • Progress over perfection

Mentioned in this Episode:


Declutter Like A Mother™ is my big annual challenge and it’s so fun. Every year we have tens of thousands of women sign up to simplify their homes.

I’m going to walk you through decluttering some main areas of your house – all for FREE. I just ask that you declutter for 30 minutes a day for 2 weeks. 

We started January 1st, but it’s not too late to join us! Sign up now and invite your friends to do it with you!


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If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.


Hi friends! Happy 2020! I just realized right now as I sat down to record this, that this is the first episode of the New Year. That’s really fun and exciting! And if you know me you know how much I love New Year’s Eve and New Year’s. It is my favorite. New Year’s Eve Night is my favorite moment in time of the entire year. Every year I’m such a geek about it. I get very quiet, I pause, and I focus. I don’t make plans with anybody. I get very reflective and I really tune in to how I’m feeling about the year that’s about to wrap up and how I’m feeling about the year that’s about to start.

I’m a big believer in getting away from Fresh Start Syndrome and not waiting for Monday, or waiting for tomorrow, or waiting for the New Year. I’m a big believer in living a lifestyle that aligns with who you want to be all the time. No matter if it’s Thursday night, Monday morning, January 1st, or July 20th.

There is something really special to me about being on the cliff of a brand new year that’s about to break. And it’s a time that I take to get really reflective. I do the same thing the night before my birthday every year. 

I think it’s really important to check in and ask hard questions—ask yourself where you’ve been and where you want to go. It’s really a special time of year. So, thank you for sitting down with me right now (or standing doing dishes, driving, dancing, or whatever it is you’re doing right now), thanks for being here with me. I think that this is a powerful day of the year and I’m honored to spend it with you.

And for those of you who are not listening on the first of the year, this is awkward and a waste of two minutes. So, sorry about that.

I want this episode to be like a pep talk. You know how much I love those. I want to talk to you about something called Parkinson’s Law.

I’ve heard about this before. It’s crossed my path multiple times, but recently I was listening to an episode of Patrice Washington’s podcast (I love her. And actually, earlier today I recorded an episode of The Purpose Show with her that is not airing until March. But you’ll hear more from her and I’ll link to her website for you guys in the show notes.) it was either an episode of her podcast or a video from her or something and she was talking about Parkinson’s Law in a different way and I wanted to share it. It got my wheels turning. I wrote out all of these notes and I wanted to share them with you.

Parkinson’s Law states that the time you give yourself to complete a task is how long you will take to complete a task. It really is just about however long you decide something is going to take is how long it’s going to take you to complete it. However long you decide you’re going to spend on a project or on a task is how long you’re going to spend on that project or task.

It really just goes back to the whole idea that I’m always trying to get you guys to focus on and remember—because it’s empowering—and that is that you’re in control of so much more than you give yourself credit for. There are a lot of things outside of our control, but there’s also a lot more within our control than we tend to admit, or see, or choose to accept.

I think a lot of the time we want to be out of control. We like to be in that victim mode of, “Oh, it was out of my control.” And like I said, a lot of things are, but a lot of things are not. They are very much within our control. Parkinson’s Law falls under that umbrella to me. It’s like, “Hey! Remember you’re in charge. You’re in control.” 

The time you give yourself to complete a task is how long you will take to complete a task. This is why as I’m pursuing a book deal I’m trying to choose the right publisher. I have finished my proposal and I’m in this phase of my book at this point in time where I am really adamant about not letting them give me too long of a time to write the book. Because I know if they give me two years, I’m going to take two years. If they give me one year, I’m going to take a year. I’d rather just take three to six months. I know that if I get a year to write the book, I can choose to write it in three to six months, but I want them to tell me. I want it to be in a contract because that’s how I work best.

This can really change everything for us. And I want to encourage you to see the empowerment in Parkinson’s Law to remind yourself, “I am in charge. I do have control over this. I can choose to do this quickly and I can choose to not let this take so dang long.” (Or as long as other people say it needs to take for whatever it is in your life that you’re wanting to accomplish). 

And you know, there are things where you can’t necessarily control the timing of the outcome, but you can control the effort you put in. For example, it’s the New Year and so many people’s minds go to losing weight. Which if your mind has gone there, reconsider. You’re so beautiful and amazing and your mental energy deserves to go to so many better places than losing weight. But let’s just use that as an example because it’s the New Year and because I haven’t really written down many notes for this episode and I’m just thinking off the top of my head. 

When you’re trying to get healthier or lose weight, your body will just take this amount of time to get to your goal. And those things are not really in your control in terms of how long it takes, but you can control how well you’re doing, how healthy you’re eating, how much you’re moving. And so, in those ways you’re controlling it. Does that make sense?

I want to challenge you to see that setting the time, setting the intent, and getting things done can change everything.

And you know what else can change everything? A timer, like the timer on your iPhone or a super basic kitchen timer.

Let’s say that you’re trying to declutter an area of your home, or you’re going to clean up at the end of the long day even though you’re just totally not feeling it, or you just need to get an office or business task done that you’ve been avoiding and you just want to get it done…set a timer. Set a 10-minute timer. Go. Decide this is going to take me 10 minutes or 30 minutes or however you long you have estimated it will take. I think the time goal should be kind of realistic but also a little short, like, “Ooh, can I get that done that fast?” Don’t give yourself a ton of time.

For example, I’m always writing down ideas for podcast episodes. I do not ever sit down to create content out of thin air because that’s never going to happen. I’m just going to sit here and stare at my screen for forever. My creativity flows when I’m in the shower, when I’m on a walk, when I’m hanging out with my family, when I’m driving. I’m always writing down in my phone ideas for episodes, courses, and all the things that I create. And so then, when I do have scheduled time to sit down and work, I am pulling from that reserve of creative ideas and deciding.

I set a timer for 30 minutes. I have 30 minutes to decide what episodes I’m going to air in the next quarter. And then I give myself another 30 minutes to quickly jot down some bullet points on each topic so that I don’t forget and have to ask myself later, “Wait, what did I mean about this? What does that even mean?” I write down a few things to remember so I can look at it and know, “Oh yeah, that’s where I was going with this idea. Okay, got it. I can record now.” Then the episode feels very conversational. Does that make sense? But if I were to set a timer for an hour, it would take me an hour. If I were to not set a timer at all, it would probably take me over an hour.

I think that a timer—as simple and small as it is—can really change everything, especially for small tasks like knocking out clutter in a specific small area. Just decide, “I’m going to tackle this in 10 minutes.” And you know what? If you’re not done when the timer goes off and you don’t have more time, you’re going to have to be okay to just say, “Good job,” at the end of the 10 minutes or whatever amount of time you gave yourself and be okay with the progress you made.

And that feeling that just came up in you of, “Ugh, that’s not good enough though. I didn’t finish,” that is why I’m always saying, “Progress over perfection.” Because that’s the very essence of why you need me to say that to you. That’s why that expression has picked up so much steam in the last couple of years—because people need to hear it.


Friend, if you are sick and tired of saying you’re going to declutter, saying you’re going to make these changes and then not following through, I have something to help you. It is time for my annual challenge, Declutter Like A Mother.

Declutter Like A Mother runs once a year, every year. This is my sixth time going through it and it’s amazing. People from all over the world gather together online in one space, and they work on decluttering specific focused areas of their home at the same time. There’s so much power in that kind of camaraderie and togetherness.

It’s free to sign up. And we’ve already started. We started on January 1st but it’s not too late to join.

Go to alliecasazza.com/DLAM which stands for Declutter Like A Mother if you can’t remember. Sign up.

Again, it’s totally free. It’s a two-week challenge. It’s hyper-focused, really helpful. Everything happens in the Facebook group, so it’s not confusing about checking email or making sure you get access to a video or a certain page. It’s just all happening in one place. Super simplified.

This is a very powerful challenge and people are seeing some crazy results. Get over there and join us. It’s not too late.


If you set a timer for 10 minutes and you’re like, “This is how long it’s going to take me to declutter this space,” but then you don’t finish and you don’t have more time to give it because you’re busy, you’re going to have to make it a habit to learn to say, “I did a good job here; progress over perfection,” and move on. You can do another 10 minutes later or tomorrow or next week.

Larger tasks like completing a project—for example if you have an online business and you’re creating a new course—can feel like really big undertakings. They’re really not; they just feel really big. Another example is if you’re looking at not just decluttering an area of your house, but if you’re like, “Okay, I’m going to declutter my whole house.” That can feel like a really big thing to do. But set a time frame, an amount of days that it’s going to take you and decide on it and remember that you are in control. You absolutely can get that task finished in that amount of time.

Anything that comes up is just an excuse and you can decide what to do with it. Are you going to put your attention on that excuse and let it derail your progress and your goal? Or are you going to say, “No, I decided to focus on this thing and I’m going to get this done?” I know you moms are listening and you’re thinking about your kids, your toddlers needing snacks and booty wipes and all these things and you’re like, “Allie, I can’t control these interruptions.” Sure. But when you’re making your goals to attack whatever the project is (like the online course example that I gave or whatever), you can allow time for those things. You can know, “Well, I have four kids. I obviously can’t declutter my entire house in two days. So, I’m going to count for the fact that I’ll get interrupted a lot during the day. I only have this day every week without the kids up in my grill and I have these hours that I need to work. So realistically, I’ve decided I’m going to declutter my house in six weeks.” And then do it. Hold yourself accountable to it. Have somebody else hold you accountable. But use Parkinson’s Law—that the time you give yourself to complete a task is how long you will take to complete a task—in your favor.

This is not a depressing law. This is not something that is like, “Oh great, well how does this help me? How can I actually take action on this?” Let it empower you. Hey, you’re in charge. You have a say. Get a timer. Pick up your phone and set a timer.

That big project you want to complete that you keep not completing, decide you’re going to do it. You keep not decluttering your house, you keep not getting your business off the ground, you keep not outlining the idea for that mastermind you want to start, you keep not networking, you keep not making friends in your new city that you just moved to. You’ve got to decide and do it.

Tell yourself like, “I am going to have four coffee dates with new friends I have made at a variety of places in the next two weeks,” and then go. Or, “I am going to outline my entire new course and have a marketing plan for it in the next five days,” and then do it. Or, “I am going to declutter my entire house in four weeks,” and then roll up your sleeves. 

Yes, you’re allowing for interruption. Yes, you’re allowing for the reality of your life, whatever that looks like. Yes, you have grace. Yes, it’s progress over perfection. But be empowered by Parkinson’s Law. Be empowered that you get to choose how long things take. Time does not own you. Girl, you own time. Okay?

That’s it for this pep talk. I feel like this is kind of a great way to start the New Year, with this kick in the butt. And I needed it myself, so just know that you’re not alone.

I love you guys. I love you so much! Tell me how you are going to use Parkinson’s Law, whether this is something you’ve heard before, or it’s brand new and you feel like your mind’s a little bit blown right now. Tag me on social media. Share with me what you are doing. Take a picture of the screen that you’re listening on and post it to social media. Tag me. If you’re on Instagram it’s @allie_thatsme, and put, “This episode is (however you feel about it).” And say, “I’m using this to declutter. I’m using this to get my business going. I am using this to make new friends.”

Whatever it is, I want to see. I love seeing this stuff. And you know, when you do that, you’re not only helping me out by encouraging people to listen, but you’re helping your friends that follow you out because they are going to listen to the episode and get the same pep talk. You’re really helping make the world a more productive, better place. So it’s a win, win, win.

Share with me, I want to see, I want to hear how this is helping you be hyper-productive. Because when I first heard this I kind of just let it go. I had to hear it a couple more times and then hear somebody that I respected talk about it before I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is actually incredibly empowering and a really powerful tool to becoming a hyper-productive human being.”

I’ve been thinking about it a lot and I find myself a lot of the times saying things like, “Oh, I’m not…I’m not going to…I can’t do that…It’s just going to take way too much time.” And it’s like, “Is it really? Is it really going to take me so much time to clean out the closet? Is it really going to take so much time to clean out the garage?” I’m just using that as an example because you know we talk about decluttering a lot here. But is it really going to take you that much time to write up this idea, to get everything out of your brain and onto paper, and start the process of deciding what you’re going to do with this project you’ve been wanting to start for over a year? Is it really going to take that much time? Decide that it’s not.

I think we also need to get okay with producing B+ work, maybe even B- work, and stop letting perfectionism and that drive to get that A+ work out there hold us up. We need to stop letting that decide our lives. We need to stop spending so much dang time on things that we’re doing— just continuing to tweak it, work on it, and refine it until it’s A+. It’s never going to be A+. Not to you, not to anybody. Start getting B work out into the world because it’s just done. And done is better than perfect.

I think a lot of you are having a lot come up for you when I say that and it’s hard for you to accept that and to just be okay with that. And that means something. Perfectionism isn’t a badge of honor. It’s a crutch. It’s crippling. I think that’s something that is hard, but we all need to realize.

Take this. Think about it. Walk with it. Process. And let me know how it’s changing your mindset.


This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend! See ya next time!

 

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.