Parkinson’s Law: Must Be Overcome Daily

C Northcote Parkinson (1909-1993)


Mr. Parkinson was a British essayist, lecturer, and economist who left us some valuable writings of his observations.

“Work expands to meet the time envelope allowed.”

Give a person a job to do and give a time limit of three days to complete it. You can bet the grocery money that it won’t get done until late on the third day! Now assign the same job but allow thirty days for its completion — and you should not be surprised that it is finished late on the 30th day!

“A Luxury, once enjoyed, becomes a necessity.”

Can you remember when we did not have air-conditioned automobiles? Would you think of buying one without air-conditioning? Of course not.

“Expenses rise to equal income.”

Is it true? Income is limited for us all, but our wishes far exceed our ability to fund them. When a pay raise comes along it is very quickly absorbed by a new definition of necessities.


My Interpretation

WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN? Parkinson was saying that most of us do not have the ability to make real substantial change in our lives. We do not have the intestinal fortitude I think. He was saying… this is how people are. They cannot improve their situation much because they always lapse back into the old ways.

This is why we just can’t go on a binge of paying off debt, because that requires us to give up something. Usually a lot of fun! We can do it for a while, but in the end, we want what we want. And our society says that we should be able to have it!

Regardless of it’ true cost.