Sarah Morgan

Healthcare Geek.
Professional Communicator.


Parkinson’s Law and Uncontrollable Stuff

Parkinson’s Law sounds super fancy, like something econ professors make you memorize. Not really. It was part of the first line of a comic essay * written in 1955 for “The Economist”.

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

Basically, the stuff you’ve got will fill up the place you’ve got for it, however big or little that space gets.

This definitely is true for work and the time you have to do it in. But I think it works for everything. Computer space. Books. Clothes. Food.


This is the ugly truth, and it’s why organization projects tail off into failure so often. If you sort and purge and install lovely new containers and systems, you’re going to start off with sparkling clean bare shelves and cubbies and spaces… but the problem is, they’re going to fill up, like magic, all by themselves, unless you’re absolutely ruthless.

So how do you control the spread of Uncontrollable Stuff?

What do you do when you feel Parkinson’s Law taking over your life?

* I know, it’s not exactly Showtime at the Apollo, but it’s economic humor; what do you want?



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