Goldfish and Parkinson’s

For the last while I’ve had a theory that I’ve mentioned to a few people and that I’ve been meaning to write about. I call it the Goldfish Theory.

Supposedly, goldfish grow to a size related to where they are kept, small fishbowl, fish stays small, big pond, fish can get pretty big. I find that time and money are the same way. Especially in a more flexible setting like freelancing. Some weeks I might have only 10 hours of billable work to do so at the beginning of the week so I’ll start loosely planning on working on other projects, redesigning the blog, the portfolio, starting to work on a much better version of Yulblog, developing new services, etc. The list is endless. But somehow, without the pressure of deadlines and of loads of “official” things to do, the 10 hours will stretch to all week, and I’ll get to Sunday with not that much more accomplished. Seems to be the case for most people.

Same thing with money. If you make, lets say $50 000, you can still remember the days when you made $30k and there’s a good chance you don’t feel like you’re living all that much more luxuriously and yet you’re also not putting aside that much more money, somehow your “needs” have expanded to the same size as your income.

I found out yesterday that that theory has, of course, already been detailed and named, it’s called Parkinson’s Law and it states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. Right. There’s also a corollary which goes “expenses rise to meet income”. Right.

Unsurprisingly, I didn’t invent anything. I still like my naming better but the early bird gets the name I guess.

So lets see, Murphy’s law directs the way crap happens in my life, my work time is affected by Parkinson’s law, my money by it’s corollary, my job is made possible in large part because of Moore’s law, my blogging life responds partly to a power law, a whole bunch of stuff around follows the Golden ratio. There must be some law which states that everything must be described by a law.