Parkinson’s Law - Deepstash

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The Science Behind Smarter Decision Making: 7 Mental Models To Know

Parkinson’s Law

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. So try placing artificial time limitations.

If we’re given three hours to complete a task that normally would take an hour, we’ll find a way to fill those three hours. However, when we’re down to the final thirty minutes, we’re suddenly feeling the pressure to get things done. 

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Not all decisions are the same

The decisions we spend the most time on are rarely the most important ones.

The Decision Matrix
This is a decision making version of the Eisenhower Matrix, which helps you distinguish between what’s important and what’s urgent, in a simple and easy to understand way.
The Decision Matrix
Decisions can be classified as:
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  • Reversible and consequential
Mental Models

The way you look at how something works in the real world is called a mental model. It’s your thinking framework about something.

But when we make decisions, we often don’t think about our fr...

Overlooking Failure

Societies with a bias towards success, that are idolizing of successful people usually overlook the decisions that led to failure.

We tend to overlook cases that did not come with a successful outcome. And when we do look at failure, we are often quick to explain why things failed.

Fyodor Dostoevsky
Fyodor Dostoevsky

“Everything seems stupid when it fails.”

The modern polymath

... is someone who becomes competent in at least 3 diverse domains and integrates them into a top 1-percent skill set.

In another words, they bring the best of what humanity has discov...

Creating an atypical combination of 2+ skills

Even if you're merely competent in these skills, combining them can lead to a world-class skill set.

Example: Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, one of the most popular comic strips of all time, was not the funniest person,  not the best cartoonist, and not the most experienced employee. But by combining his humor and illustration skills while focusing on business culture, he became the best in the world in his niche.

Creative breakthroughs

Most creative breakthroughs come via making atypical combinations of skills.

Researcher Brian Uzzi, a professor at the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, analyzed more than 26 million scientific papers going back hundreds of years and found that the most impactful papers often have teams with atypical combinations of backgrounds.