Parkinson's Law

From the desk of Paul Nichols: President of Financial Abundance Inc.

C. Northcote Parkinson is probably most recognized for his book entitled Parkinson’s Law. It states that “work expands to meet the time envelope allowed.” Give it a shot- give someone a task with a deadline of 2 days, and it will be done near the end of the 2nd day. Give the same task to another person and give them a week to complete it. You can bet that the task won’t be completed until the waning hours of the 7th day.

Another observation in Parkinson’s Law is that “a luxury, once enjoyed, becomes a necessity.” Think about it… how long can you go without your cell phone? Along with this he said that “expenses rise to equal income.” Everyone has a limited income, and everyone has wishes that far exceed our ability to support them. When you make more money… you spend more money.

Although when he wrote Parkinson’s Law it was intended to be a bit satirical, these remarks do seem to accurately describe human nature. It doesn’t have to be that way though. If you can beat Parkinson’s Laws you will win in the financial game, primarily because your peers will not be able to and will be stuck in the same old rut. Everything you do in the economic world is compared to others to determine how successful you are. I learned many years ago, the only people I know that are truly happy are people I don’t know well. Be careful who you compare yourself to… things are never as bad as they seem, and they are never as good as they seem.

Parkinson told a story about a government official who served around the time of the First World War. Young civil servants would bust into his office with documents in their hand emphasizing how important the information they had was. This official would patiently listen and then tell them to leave their papers on his desk. Just as the young civil servant reached the door, he would say to them: “Oh, one thing Sir? Remember rule six.” The young worker would reply “Yes sir, of course, rule six… I’m sorry sir, what is rule six?” The official would respond “Rule six is don’t take yourself too seriously.” “Oh, ok.” the young worker would respond “but what are the first five rules sir?” The response would always follow: “Young man, there are no other rules.”

"Join me this and every Saturday morning at 10AM for "it's Your Money", part of Coaches Corner, Saturday Morning Street Smarts, on Newstalk Radio, WBLF, 970 AM. Call in during the show: 814-272-9700 or send me an email: Paul NicholsThe Investor Coach