How to make homework ‘less work’

Bet you have not heard of Parkinson’s Law!

You might have heard of the concept though.

According to Parkinson’s Law, “Work expands to fill the time allotted.”

What does it mean?

This is what it means:

“If something should be done in a year, it will be done in a year.” But, if something must be done in six months, then it will be done in six months.

The definition of Parkinson’s Law is: The amount of work that you are required to do, will adjust to the time available for its completion.

Bear in mind that this applies to reasonable deadlines.

The term ‘Parkinson’s Law’ was first coined in 1955 when a guy called Cyril Northcote Parkinson wrote about the concept in a humorous essay for The Economist, an international weekly newspaper.

According to this ‘law’, if you set aside time for homework or an assignment and in your mind you reckon that you have one whole evening to do it, it will take one entire evening. But, if you decide to allocate 2 full hours to whatever needs to be done, you will accomplish it in no more than 2 hours.

In other words, if you set your mind to it, you will do it – within the allotted time you gave yourself.

Here are some tips to make homework less work, or, to spend less time to get more accomplished:

  1. Find a place to focus, no hocus-pocus: Wherever you work should be quiet enough and without distractions as far as possible. Studying in your bed is not a good idea!
  2. Turn off all devices! No exceptions, otherwise you will be far too tempted to see why there is beeping, blinging or vibrating.
  3. Before you start, make sure that you fully understand what you need to do, whether this is knowing what a section of work entails or what an assignment requires from you. Also ensure that you have everything you need at hand before you start.
  4. Create a plan / Make a list of everything that needs to be done on a specific day. Estimate the time needed – be realistic – for each item on your list (this is also known as ‘budgeting’ your time).
  5. Don’t procrastinate, start right away and continue working at it – without losing concentration.
  6. Do the hardest things first. It might be tempting to start with the easier stuff to get it out of the way but this is counterproductive. You have much more energy and focus when you begin – you need the energy and focus for whatever is more challenging.
  7. Focus on the task: If you are doing something online, be sure not to stray to anything else apart from what you are doing at the moment.
  8. Take short ‘power breaks’ – this will make you more productive over the course of the afternoon / evening. If you are really concentrating, wait until you have finished that section before you take the next break.

By following these tips your homework and assignments won’t feel nearly as overwhelming.

Does this sound too much like hard work?

Then, listen to this: in South Korea students often spend 18 hours a day on schoolwork!