Skirt this law

Parkinson’s Law states: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” For students with college applications that still need to be completed over the holiday break, I recommend you skirt that law.

Time (real or perceived) in front of you can chip away at your sense of urgency for a project. Even worse, it opens the door to too many excuses that slow or outright halt your progress.

“This can wait until tomorrow.”

“I don’t have any good ideas for this essay.”

“I’ll spend today just getting organized (but not doing any of the actual work).”

As those excuses add up, the work completed does not. And eventually, you’re up against the deadlines, stressed and scrambling to complete work you only recently had seemingly enough time to complete. And your holiday break transforms into no break at all.

Don’t let that happen to you.

Imagine your dream college guaranteed you admission provided you: (1) submitted all your applications one week from today, and (2) ensured every application reflected your best effort.

What would you do for the next seven days? You’d find a way. You’d finish applications that were as good as they could possibly be, applications that made you proud, and you’d still have plenty of holiday left.

Why not do that right now?

Imagine the relief you’d feel. Imagine the peace of mind of meeting that artificial deadline, sleeping on it, and coming back the next day for one more review, one last bonus time. Imagine how much better your applications would be if you put that much focus and effort into them for the next seven days.

And best of all, imagine the relief of pushing “Submit” with time left to enjoy a chunk of your holiday break.

Work expands to fit the space allotted to complete it. Skirt that law by giving yourself less space.