Since I am a little kid my dad always told me to first do the important tasks and then enjoy my free time. In one of my favorite books, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the first habit is put first things first.
I understand both my dad and Mr. Stephen Covey and what they want to teach (self-discipline and a sense of importance) but after a recent experience I found a new way of approaching a task. It’s a concept introduced me by Tim Ferris in his book, 4-hours work week, the Parkinson’s law.
I arrive uni at 9 a.m and find my friends talking about a presentation, to give at 2 p.m. You would think that I would skip all the classes in between to create and train the presentation. I enjoy a good challenge and this was the perfect opportunity. Finished morning classes, went to have lunch and at 1.10 p.m sat down. Time to figure out if Mr. Parkinson is right.
In 50 minutes I was able to create a 15 slide PowerPoint about Arc welding. The objective of the presentation was to present the topic to the class so I focus only on the basics and in answering the questions proposed by the professor. After the presentation I got positive feedback, feeling accomplished and free.
The advantages of using the Parkinson’s law are obvious:
- You focus only on the essential
- You don’t allow for distractions
As a consequence, you complete your task faster, you only include the minimum and as an engineer, this is the very definition of efficiency.