Since late November, I’ve been writing a book. I recently turned in the manuscript to my publisher, and I have gone from working hard 14-hour days 7 days a week back to working manageable 8-hour days 5 days a week. (The book comes out November 3, and I’ll give more information about it as the publishing date gets closer. I am really excited about it.)
Unfortunately, as my responsibilities have plummeted in the last two weeks, so has my productivity. It’s now taking me three to four times longer to do routine and simple tasks. My mind is wandering, I’m in no rush to get anything done, and yesterday, for the first time in over a year, a post went up on the site 30 minutes late.
In 1957, Professor C. Northcote Parkinson wrote of this phenomenon in his book Parkinson’s Law and Other Studies in Administration. The opening sentence of his book proclaims the culmination of his research, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” And, since I am carrying a significantly lighter load of work, it’s taking me unreasonable amounts of time to do it.
Part of this decrease in productivity is probably healthy. For six months, I was pushing myself unusually hard. However, it’s time for me to get my bum back into gear and return to a regular level of efficiency.
To do this, I’m taking the following steps:
- Planning my new perfect day.
- Using a timer and music to motivate me to do my work in a speedy manner.
- Using my project management software for the smallest of tasks.
- Giving myself permission to leave work whenever I finish at any point after 3:00 p.m.
Have you noticed that your productivity takes a dive after the completion of a large project? Is Parkinson’s Law true for you? What do you do to turn this around?