In a 1955 essay in The Economist, Cyril Northcote Parkinson, a British historian, described a phenomenon that would come to be called “Parkinson’s Law.” His key insight: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” In other words, if something must be done in a day, it will get done in a day. If something must be done in a year, it will get done in a year. Work takes as long as we allow for it. If you believe that achieving success as an associate takes 3,000 hours of work per year, then it will. It’s Parkinson’s Law of being a lawyer. Working hard, working long hours, working late into the night — too many of us accept the inevitability of a life driven primarily, if not exclusively, by work.Originally published October 23, 2017
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