The Law of Contraction and Expansion

Linda Edgecombe has been someone who inspires me. It was quite obvious to Terra and I that Linda be our keynote speaker at the 1st Annual Inspiring Women Conference in February. She has got me thinking again with one of her recent blog posts at referring to the law of contraction and expansion. She references Cyril Northcote Parkinson who says work either expands or contracts in order to fill the time available. I have been noticing this in my own life lately. When there is more to do, I get more done.  And the reverse is true. When there is little on my to do list, I am not getting anything done.  A suggestion from a wise friend was to dig out some old projects or hobbies, as the sense of accomplishment on completing those leads us to getting more done.

Northcote Parkinson first came up with this observation in 1955. At that time he was referring to the rate at which bureaucracies expand over time.  Another offshoot of this idea is, “If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute to do.” And here I thought I was just procrastinating, when really I was taking a more efficient approach.  On the website there are a couple of suggestions for how we can use this to our advantage. Give yourself half of the time anticipated to complete a task and then play beat the clock. This strategy will likely work better for the more competitive folks. Another suggestion referred to seriously restricting the time allowed for time wasters. E-mails and internet surfing are two possibilities. Once tasks are completed on the to do list, then give yourself permission to go back.  Of course we do not want to get into a frantic mode of constantly being productive. I think it is important to give ourselves down time to relax, reflect and recharge.  We need this opportunity to continue learning and becoming our best. What are some ways the law of contraction and expansion works for you?


“Efficiency is doing things right, effectiveness is doing the right things,” Peter Drucker.


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