How Parkinson’s Law Will Help You Make the Most of Your Time Spent Studying For the Firefighter Promotional Exam

Procrastination is the enemy of someone working on their firefighter promotional exam prep. If you are a procrastinator you likely drag out your study sessions and make them longer than necessary because you have the time to do so. Let’s explore Parkinson’s Law and see if we can change that. 

Parkinson Law Explained

Parkinson’s Law states, “Work expands so as to fill time available for completion.” Meaning, if you give yourself two hours to study for your firefighter promotional exam, you will drag out your studying to fill the whole two hours even if you don’t need it. This will result in more procrastination and mind wandering because you have the time for it. Ultimately whatever you are working on in that given time will be completed but likely not until the very end of the time you allotted yourself. You may delay getting started because you have plenty of time or let your mind wander as you are studying. Waiting until the last minute can be a huge motivator and can even give you a little rush when you complete something right on time. Parkinson’s Law does not just relate to an individual, it can be applied to groups as well. So if you are a part of a study group as you work toward promotion in the fire service, pay attention.  

How to Beat Parkinson’s Law

  1. Understand Parkinson’s Law

The first way to beat Parkinson’s Law is to realize it even exists. Knowing that you may be procrastinating or wasting time during your study session is crucial. Now you can pay attention to your own habits while you are studying and try to catch yourself spacing off or being unproductive and get refocused. This self awareness should help decrease procrastination and increase productivity. 

  1. Schedule Shorter Study Sessions

Another easy way to beat Parkinson’s Law is to reduce the amount of time you give yourself to study. Less time to study means less time to avoid studying. If you are procrastinating because you have the time to do so, eliminate that extra time. Having a shorter study session will force you to stay focused because the “deadline” is sooner so there will be a sense of urgency. 

  1. Allow For Modifications & Be Honest

Studying with Parkisnon’s Law in mind may not be easy in the beginning. You will likely need to make a lot of adjustments to your study schedule when factoring in Parkinson’s Law. You likely haven’t studied in awhile and have no idea how long reading, creating study guides, or doing online practice tests will take. Allow yourself to make modifications as you go to best fit your needs. Pay attention to yourself and even keep track of how often you are not studying when you are supposed to be. Then adjust for that for your next study session. For example, you caught yourself spacing out for a total of ten minutes while reading your textbook, next time you read, cut ten minutes out of the study session and see if you are more productive. Also, if you studied for an hour and stayed focused 99% of the time but still didn’t finish, add more time to your next study session. 

  1. Create Real Deadlines

To make the shorter study session work even better, actually schedule something at the end of your study session so it has to end. Make a doctors/dentist appointment, a dinner date, even start studying an hour before you need to leave to pick your kids up from school or so on. Having an actual deadline will do a better job of ensuring you actually stick to your end time and end your study session. Otherwise you may just allow yourself to procrastinate, because even though the study session is supposed to be over, you have nothing else you actually have to do and can allow yourself to waste more time because there is no real urgency. 

The Takeaway

Studying for your firefighter promotional exam while factoring in Parkinson’s Law will require more planning on your part but will result in so much more productivity and time saved in the end. Keep track of your focus and productivity levels as you begin studying for your firefighter promotional exam and make adjustments to your study sessions to help increase your productivity by not allowing yourself enough time to procrastinate.