The principle I’m going to share today may not be earth-shattering for you, but it has proven useful for me in my work time and time again. This principle, also called “Parkinson’s Principle” (named for a person; it has no connection to the disease), states that people will expand or contract their work to fill their time. For example, if you give a person five tasks to complete and eight hours to complete them, they will likely take the full eight hours, even if they could take only six hours to complete the same tasks to the same standard.
This has happened in my office recently. I had one of my staff come to me and say something along the lines of, “I’ve been working here for a year, and I’m wondering if I could get a raise.” My reply was that I do raises based on merit, not on time, so we set out to see where she was at so that we could help her get a raise. This girl “runs comps” (a phrase we use in our office to describe the process of entering the comps into the grid after the appraiser has chosen them), and in my office our goal is to have each comp take about one minute. When we timed her, she averaged at about one or one and a half minutes per comp. We talked about it and now she’s working to hit one minute per comp. I guarantee that she’ll be consistently reaching her goal here soon.
Consider the work and tasks that you’re doing each day, whether in the office or at home. Consider your inspections. Even subconscious time expectations will affect how long you take to complete a given task. Using this principle to your advantage will hep you use your time even more effectively, as you strive to become more productive and successful in your life.
For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: 656