Shrink the Suck

Shrink the Suck

By: Basmah Hendy

Imagine this:  

You have an assignment due in two weeks. It should take you about an hour of work and nothing else is on your plate. Do you... 

a) complete it an hour when it assigned  

b) complete it the night before it’s due  

c) start to work on it early and spend way beyond an hour on it 

Behavioral research predicts that options b) and c) will be the most popular. Today’s blogpost will focus on explaining why and providing some strategies for time management.  

Let me introduce you to a little thing called Parkinson’s law. It’s the idea that your work will expand to fill the time allotted for its completion. If you have a lot of time to complete a task, you’re likely to procrastinate it until the end or stretch it out to where it takes up more of your time than necessary.  

But that’s not all bad. Understanding how Parkinson’s law influences your daily life can be a powerful tool to improve your time management. This stood out to me in my first year of university, when I was a commuter student who also worked a part-time job. Because of the demands on my time, I had less time to study than I was used to in high school. That’s just when I realized something wild began to happen.  

Suddenly, I realized that I didn’t need five hours to complete one assignment. If I had an hour between classes and work, that same assignment got done because it had to.  

That’s the magic of Parkinson’s law. Give yourself less time and you’ll be surprised how much time you need. When you know there’s no time to waste, the stakes are higher, and you need to be more efficient with your time. You ‘shrink the suck’ as I like to call it. This concept is why you might wrestle with a blank page for weeks on end but write a five-page essay the day before it’s due. 

So, how do we use this to our advantage. Here are some strategies based on Parkinson's law that have improved my time management.  

  • Give yourself fake earlier deadlines, and make sure you treat it with the same urgency as real ones. Doing this shrinks your time frame and helps motivation.
  • Get busier. Giving yourself less time to dilly-dally forces you to get your work done when you have small pockets of time. However, don’t load yourself with too many activities or you might not have enough time for everything. Reminder that getting busier doesn’t always mean taking on a new job, signing up for something like weekly rock-climbing lessons or a new extracurricular activity can be equally rewarding.  

Overall, I hope this advice helps anyone who needs it. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us via Insta or email! (@mapmentorship /

Thanks to all who have taken the time to read this post!