Time is lacking, yet we are all equal and have 24 hours in our days. Why do some seem to do more in their 24 hours than others? Several colleagues tell me: but how do you find the time to do all this? It’s not just a question of organization. Several scientific laws exist and explain this dilation of time according to the individuals. I propose to study some of them so that you, too, have “more” time.
Weinberg’s Law – calculating the duration of an activity
To find out how long it will take to complete a task or project, make your most reliable estimate (in minutes, hours, days, or weeks), add one, multiply by two, and round to the next top ten.
What this law demonstrates is that it is almost impossible to determine, in a methodical and repetitive way, the time required for a task. This only applies to humans, the machines have standard processing times. But we are very different from machines and deal with much more complex tasks. The quality of the assessment is based on the experience of the planner. Here are some things to consider when you want to evaluate the duration of a task.
- Task to perform: what are the variables that have changed? Focus on the scope: adding or removing one or more elements for example.
- Responsible: everyone works differently, the same task performed by two people will not take the same time.
- Participant: same thing, for the same task, if I work with other people, I would not have the same deadline of realization.
- Context: have the laws, procedures, paradigm changed? They can speed up or slow down work.
Golub’s Law – impact of planning on the total duration of a project
A well-planned project will take three times longer than planned for completion, a carefully planned project will only take twice as much time as planned.
Despite the difficulty inherent in the evaluation of the duration of the activities, to plan its project is essential if one wants to limit the delays.
Parkinson’s Law – required time dilatation
The work is spread out to take up the time available for completion.
For the same task, if I give you an hour, you will provide me what you are able to do in one hour, if I grant you ten, you will probably provide me a better deliverable, but will it be ten times higher than the first? Not sure. This law applies particularly well to the Pareto principle. The more time you have to achieve something, the more you will take. Nature hates emptiness and we fill our time as much as handbags.
Murphy’s Law – worse case scenario certainty
The bread will always fall on the side of the jam. So if there is a way to crash a system, then it will inevitably crash
The unexpected is part of life, so you have to take time to manage it. By applying Parkinson’s law, this means that you should save time for the unexpected. If I have 10 hours to do a job, I should plan to do it in 9 hours, to keep me an hour of management of unforeseen, itwill arrive, so better plan them immediately!
Fraisse’s Law – subjective distorsion of time
Activities you like the least take more time than enjoyable activities.
It’s purely subjective, because observations have shown that it’s more the other way around, but with procrastination makining you think more about less exciting activities. Those come back to your mind all the time and make you feel taking all your time. It is therefore necessary to foresee enough time to realize them, and to prioritize them, to then be able to pass to a more pleasant activity and to grant them more time!
In time management, you have to know your enemy, not the clock, but yourself. Knowing yourself well (and knowing your contacts) will help you gain control of your time. You now know several sociological laws. In a future article, I will explain biological laws.