1 in 5? Maybe? (Parkinson’s Law)

I’ve received bunches of feedback from the 5 in 5 Challenge. In gist, what most are saying goes a little like this: I want to do this, but it seems impossible. However…it has made me think more about what I’m doing, writing and I’m more conscious about my time and the quality–and brevity–of what I write.

So, what I’m thinking is this: Maybe we can do 1 meaningful thing in 5 minutes. (?)

Since writing that post, I’ve dug back through my copy of The Four-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss to verify my point about working within time limits often results in a better in product. The point goes back to Parkinson’s Law. Ferris has this to say about it on page 75 of his book:

Parkinson’s Law dictates that a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion. It is the magic of the immediate deadline.

With this in mind, I’d say that we’re all right on target! For instance, right now, I am working on a major project to create a mobile literacy outlet here in Charlotte that we’ve dedicated to launch on June 18 (this project includes the customization of a large delivery truck to be the centerpiece for a “mobile library zone”) That’s less than 1 month from now. My senses are heightened, I am on the phone, email and fax and searching for vendors like mad, putting teams into place and looking to hire a skilled and innovative contract program specialist–NOW. All these puzzle pieces are a floating around waiting to come together. However, I simply know they’ll come together in the right time and way. Is this Parkinson’s Law in action? Ask me on June 19.




  1. Kia Ora Tony

    It seems a pity that your previous post created such a stir in the recent 31-Day comment Challenge and not one comment was submitted in its honour against this post. So here’s the obligatory comment in feedback, written by one among many who, eventually, took you up on your initial dare to do five in five.

    One of these comments was put on your original post in my attempt. The other four, three of which were successful, were submitted during the measured time of about 8 minutes while using the only strategy I could think of to get even remotely within the stipulated five.

    Unfortunately, one of the sites would not accept my submitted comment, relevant though it was to that particular post. It remains like a caged bird in its Notepad file.

    Ka kite
    from Middle-earth

  2. Hello Ken,
    Thanks for taking the 5-in-5 Challenge and all your follow-up with it! It really does do something to the mind and fingers(typing)to focus on getting those thoughts out when a clock is ticking! It is so easy to get caught up in “editing mode” when we are writing.
    I’ve had a few comments sent out to the nether-regions of cyberspace before, too. Sometimes, if my post or comment is particulary well-thought-out (or long), I find myself copying and pasting it elsewhere until I see it appear on the screen. Those little things keep us sane sometimes.
    My best,

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