Parkinson’s Law and my life – Routines

In my natural habitat, my husband and I went to work every day and on the weekends we got ready to go back to work IE. clean house, wash clothes and fill up the fridge. In captivity, I am finding that I miss my earlier daily routine.  I have the song “too much time on my hands” running constantly through my head. Which makes me think of Parkinson’s Law here summarized as:

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

Cyril Northcote Parkinson

To be clear – I have no deadlines anymore.  The only pressure I have is to keep the clean underwear drawer to my husband filled.  He requires little other maintenance than that. I always get hungry before he and I have a lower tolerance for dirty floors than he does, so I am basically self managed – apart from the underwear drawer.

A quick search on Google for “time management principles” shows me clearly this is a subject I have used far too little time thinking about. I started out when we got to Germany with a strict housekeeping routine but quickly tired of having hospital-like standards in the bathroom.  I have not abandoned ironing the sheets because ironed sheets are very nice but I have slacked off.  I have German class 2 days a week and after class I go to the market so I am occupied at minimum 5 hours per week.  That’s hardly stress.

This is a problem. I understand now why retired people have such rigid schedules.

Monday –  breakfast at Denny’s
Tuesday – cut coupons
Wednesday – Barber: trim nose hairs etc.

I get it, without these little demands on our time, Parkinson’s Law takes over and nothing ever gets done.

I could set up a simple schedule but since I have a bit of time, I should do some proper planning.  I have looked a little at Pareto’s Principle or the 80/20 Rule – which says roughly that only 20 percent of what I do really gives any results or matters –  the other 80 percent I could have easily done without.  Within the glorious 80 percent lies: time on youtube, facebook, ebay, twitter and many more time-vacuums.  So if only the 20 percent matters, I could conceivably sleep most of the day and get up right before hubby comes home, make dinner and throw in a load of undies and be a successful housewife.

The pickle jar theory of time management says that you have time for everything you want to as long as you prioritize.  But for this to work properly, I have to get serious about what is important to me and I am slowly becoming a zombie so I had better hurry.  Still time is not my issue – sensible time use is.

The next weeks leading to Easter do not lend themselves to big changes in routines but the cogs are turning and I will have a plan, a darn good one to post here after Easter. No really, I even put it in my calendar on my phone!

One response to “Parkinson’s Law and my life – Routines

  1. I definitely subscribe to Parkinson’s rule. Just see my recent un, self-employment where blogging, round-the-world trip planning, and snowboarding has managed to keep me busier than I was when I had a full-time engineering job.

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