Have you ever heard of Parkinson’s law? 
 
In its simplest form, it states that work expands to fill the available time. 
 
How long it takes to write a chapter or complete a task can often be determined by how long you’ve been allocated to completing it (particularly if that deadline is imposed externally).
 
You likely know the feeling. When you have a deadline approaching, you can find yourself working at incredible speed. Conversely, when you have no deadline, or the deadline is far away, procrastination can set in. 
 
Much of the work involved in a PhD involves self-imposed deadlines, rather than those set by others. This can pose challenges, as you may be filling up the time you set yourself to complete a task just because it is there. 
 
But there is a balancing act to be struck. It’s difficult when you’re on the PhD journey to gauge how long tasks will take, principally because you’ve never done many of them before and you aren’t able to accurately judge, say, how long it’ll take to write your literature review. This poses problems when you’re setting deadlines, because you want to make sure that you’re being realistic about how long each task will take, whilst also making sure you aren’t giving yourself too long, thereby risking Parkinson’s law kicking in.
 
So as you work through a task an on the way to a deadline, as yourself whether your deadline is too lax? Would there, perversely, be some merit in bringing it forward as a way of doing more in less time? 
 
 
 
 
 

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