Planning… to Procrastinate

We are currently learning about planning in class right now. Coincidentally, a Youtuber I follow just posted a video about planning. I thought it was interesting because it went into the psychology of planning and not just the schematics of it.

In the video, the Youtuber introduces two laws: Parkinson’s Law and Hofstadter’s Law. I perceived Parkinson’s Law to be the law of procrastination. It closely resembles the reason why people procrastinate and hold off on doing assignments to the last minute. As defined in the article I read about using Parkinson’s Law to your advantage, “Work expand so as to fill the time available for its completion.” I thought it was interesting that Parkinson’s Law is about work expanding to fill in time that we personally assign, not the time we actually have.

Procrastination is a combination of Parkinson’s and Hofstadter’s Law, which states that, “It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.” For example, you are assigned homework that is due next week, and you estimate for yourself that it will only take six hours to complete. You have now allotted six hours of your time to this assignment despite having a week. The moment the clock hits six hours before the assignment is due, or maybe a bit earlier, you rush to complete the assignment (Parkinson’s Law) but slowly come to realize that it is going to take more time than expected (Hofstadter’s Law). You still manage to turn in the assignment but it isn’t of best quality because you rushed to complete it. Ta-Da, you just procrastinated with scientific reasoning. It might be a good excuse someday…


This problem of completing work at the last minute can be fixed the moment you start applying these laws more effectively. Using Hofstadter’s Law, you double the time to twelve hours and add in an hour for safety. According to this law, you still won’t have enough time, but it’s still more than six, so your work shouldn’t be as bad. In addition to more time, instead of just giving the assignment 13 hours, you divide it into approximately two hours per day. With Parkinson’s Law, you will (in theory) work those two hours each day, for the assignment. If all goes according to plan, you will have the majority of the project complete the night before it is due and now you can spend the next six hours before it’s due perfecting it.

I hate to procrastinate. One of the biggest pet peeve of mine is when someone procrastinates, even if I have zero involvement in whatever they are doing. I personally like to divide up my work and break it down to manageable chunks and relax the night it’s due. It stresses me out more to have to rush to finish something the night before. However, it’s interesting to see that we have explanations as to why a lot of people act this way, almost seems to be human nature to a certain degree.

Parkinson’s Law

Hofstadter’s Law




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s