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Productivity Laws Cheat Sheet by

Productivity Laws of Work



Parkin­son's law

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion
Stock–­Sanford corollary
If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute to do
Horstman's corollary
Work contracts to fit in the time we give it
Asimov corollary
In ten hours a day you have time to fall twice as far behind your commit­ments as in five hours a day
Computers corollary
Data expands to fill the space available for storage
Genera­liz­ation Induced Demand
The demand upon a resource tends to expand to match the supply of the resource
The reverse is not true
Law of demand
the lower the price of a service or commodity, the greater the quantity demanded
Law's Time Form
The amount of time that one has to perform a task is the amount of time it will take to complete the task.
Coeffi­cient of ineffi­ciency
Size of a committee or other decisi­on-­making body at which it becomes completely ineffi­cient.
Optimal Size
3 to 20 members
21 or more
Parkin­son's law is a reference to the self-s­ati­sfying uncont­rolled growth of the bureau­cratic apparatus in an organi­zation.
Parkin­son's Law: The Pursuit of Progress (London, John Murray, 1958)

Hofsta­dter's law

It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofsta­dter's Law
Douglas Hofsta­dter's 1979
Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

Murphy's Second Law

Everything takes longer than you expect
Corollary to the law: Every­­thing takes longer than it should, except obviously sex
Corollary to Corollary As the desire increases, so does the number of interr­uptions and the time available decreases

Sturgeon's law

Ninety percent of everything is crap
Corollary: Stupid persons and stupidity acts reach as high as 99% of crap's causes

Carlson's Law

If you focus on a task without any break or interr­uption, it will take you less time to finish it
Once you start doing something finish it!
Avoid interr­uptions and be focused!

Fraisse's Law

Time is a subjective variable depending on our own interest in the activity performed
Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relati­vity. Albert Einstein

DeCaprio's Law

Everything takes more time and money
So, be aware if you have enough
Annie DeCaprio, Highbridge N.J., Harper's August 1974

Drazens Law of Restit­ution

The time it takes to rectify a situation is inversely propor­tional to the time it took to do the damage
Louis D. Rubin

Hendri­cksons Law

If you have enough meetings over a long enough period of time, the meetings become more important than the problem the meetings were intended to solve

Stigler's law of eponymy

No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer
Mark Twain
It takes a thousand men to invent a (...) important thing—and the last man gets the credit and we forget the others
Matthew effect
This pattern of recogn­ition, skewed in favor of the establ­ished scientist, appears princi­pally (i) in cases of collab­oration and (ii) in cases of indepe­ndent multiple discov­eries made by scientists of distinctly different rank.
Boyer's law
Mathem­atical formulas and theorems are usually not named after their original discov­erers
Mathilda Effect
The effect applies specif­ically to women.
Alfred N. Whiteh­ead's Corollary
Everything of importance has been said before by somebody who did not discover it
Terentius (190-159 BC)
Nothing has yet been said that's not been said before
Examples: Hubble's law derived by Lemaître. The Pythag­orean theorem to Babylonian mathem­ati­cians. Halley's comet observed by astron­omers since at least 240 BC. Stigler himself named the sociol­ogist Robert K. Merton as the discoverer of "­Sti­gler's law"

Lance's Law

If it aint broke, don't fix it
Equivalent form: Don´t touch it if it works
Machine at work: Experi­ments with soda water

Lowerys Law

Just when you get really good at something you don't need it anymore
Corollary: Or simply you don't like anymore

Pym's Law

Actions speak louder than words
Corollary: Although actions speak loud there is always someone who is deaf, or simply too stupid to understand

Newton's Law

Every object at rest will stay at rest, and every object in motion will remain in motion
if you are procra­sti­nating, you are at rest, so it will be difficult for you to move
If you are working you are moving, it is hard to stop because you feel happy when you accomplish your tasks

Illich's Law

After a certain time, personal produc­tivity tends to decrease, even reaching negative values
Consider this: we have limited work capacity and can’t be completely focused too long.
Everybody needs breaks and sleep. And Love, of course.

Jevons' paradox

Techno­logical progress increases the efficiency with which a resource is used (reducing the amount necessary for any one use), but the rate of consum­ption of that resource rises because of increasing demand
Jevons' Comple­mentary Corollary (Edward Glaeser)
Improv­ements in inform­ation technology lead to more demand for face-t­o-face contact, because face time comple­ments time spent commun­icating electr­oni­cally

Downs–­Thomson paradox

The equili­brium speed of car traffic on a road network is determined by the average door-t­o-door speed of equivalent journeys taken by public transport
Improv­ements in the road network will not reduce traffic congestion
In fact, improv­ements in the road network can make congestion worse if the improv­ements make public transport more inconv­enient or if it shifts invest­ment, causing disinv­estment in the public transport system
aka the Pigou–­Kni­ght­–Downs paradox

Pareto's Principle

80% of the outputs come from 20% of the inputs
We spend most of the day working on tasks that don’t get us closer to our goals
Principle of factor sparsity

Laborit Principle

We have got a natural tendency towards those tasks that require less effort from us
We are far from be objective when choosing tasks

Habits that ruins produc­tivity

Over / Under Planning
Sit down and come up with a plan but do not waste too much time
Do not do too many things at a time
Over-c­lut­tered to-do lists
Prioritise what’s most important and only include those tasks on your list
Avoid delegate
Delegate some work to skilled profes­sionals and partners you can trust
Working without protocols
You need to establish a set of practices to kick your produc­tivity
Taking many meetings
Unless it’s absolutely necessary avoid meetings
Do not say 'NO'
Do no let others decide for you. Not important? Then say ‘NO’
Not taking breaks
Break big tasks into smaller pieces and plan breaks in between
Checking your email constantly
Save some time every day to check your mail, the rest to work
Being overco­nnected
Being too available raises your chances of being interr­upted and distracted
Not measuring your results
Do you know what the actual results of your efforts are?
Remember that rules – even produc­tivity rules – are made to be broken
Breaking habits offers new perspe­ctive and helps recharge us

Author: Jorge Juan

Ver.1.5 May 2017


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