Parkinson's law is the adage that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." In plain English it means that if you give yourself the task to just memorize formulas in the evening for your quiz tomorrow, you’ll inevitably find that a 30 minute task has somehow filled your entire evening. How will you find time to do the rest of your homework?
Here are 7 steps to beat Parkinson's law and do homework in less time.
- Make a to-do list. This should be a list of everything that has to be done that evening. Everything. It includes your homework, review material for quiz or test, assignment, reading, project, etc.
- Hack your time. If you think a task will take 30 minutes, shave off 5 or 10 minutes! Be realistic, but try to shave some time off the estimated time.
- Organize. Collect things you will need for the homework you are working on. Don't get up for supplies because switching tasks and contexts burn energy and makes it that much harder to get back to your homework.
- Unplug and Stop watching TV! Deep focus requires white space and not constant beeps from devices or excitement from TV. These are all distractions. Distract proof yourself to save time and do you homework faster.
- Don't multi-task. Don't do homework and surf the web or check a message from a friend. If you need to go online for information, just note the information and move on to do your homework.
- Take breaks. Active breaks are a great way to keep your energy up. Tech breaks can be an awesome way to combat distractions and demands from other people. Stick to a break schedule of 5-10 minutes or so after every 30 minutes of studying.
- Reward yourself! Finish early? Reward yourself with an extra break, eat your favorite healthy snack, or just move on to the next task. If all your tasks are done faster, you will have time to play, watch your favorite show, or chat with friends. And most importantly, you will be done with homework in less time.