I am a Master of Computing student at National University of Singapore, and I just finished my second semester three weeks ago. So two weeks ago I went back to my home country, Indonesia, and I plan to spend my vacation here until the end of July.
The first thing I faced was the difficulty to connect to the Internet. I spent my first two weeks here without broadband connection. I could only connect using dial-up connection which is both slow and expensive. Fortunately I still managed to maintain this blog and keep up with emails and comments. But the fact that the connection is both slow and expensive forced me to trim the fat and do only the bare essentials.
Two days ago eventually I got my broadband connection, so things get better now. But there is a new problem: the bandwidth usage is limited to only 1,000 MB per month. The unlimited package is still too expensive for me (much more expensive than the one in Singapore). I thought 1,000 MB per month is enough since I plan to do only normal browsing without any bandwidth-consuming stuffs, but in the first two days I already used 150 MB! So I now decide to trim the fat again and do only the essentials.
Parkinson’s Law dictates that a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion. It is the magic of the imminent deadline. If I give you 24 hours to complete a project, the time pressure forces you to focus on execution, and you have no choice but to do only the bare essentials.
If I give you a week to complete the same task, it’s six days of making a mountain out of a molehill. If I give you two months, God forbid, it becomes a mental monster.
Parkinson’s law is actually the inversion of Pareto principle or 80/20 rule:
- Pareto principle (80/20 rule): Limit tasks to the important to shorten work time.
- Parkinson’s law: Shorten work time to limit tasks to the important.
My current situation is like Parkinson’s law, only in this case the limited resource is bandwidth instead of time. It does the same effect though: it makes me do only the essentials.
Unlimited broadband might sound like a better idea for me. But who knows, my situation might actually boost my productivity.