Wikipedia: Parkinson’s Law
It comes down to:
Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
Most of the design challenges in Project Runway seem to be one-day things with a little bit of work on the second day when they have to present on the runway. And most of the time, the designers get it done.
Yet, when they give them 2 full days for a challenge, the designers still run right up to the deadline, even though it seems like with the extra time they shouldn’t be sweating it quite as much. Is it just that they spend more time designing at the beginning because they know they have more time? Even if that is the case, it only serves to prove Parkinson’s Law.
It’s sort of funny because it was started as an economic principle, but as a general rule it applies to time management in a way that I admit I hadn’t thought about until listening to Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek
Another example: I participate in a fantasy basketball roundtable, which is run on a weekly basis, with the deadline being Tuesday night. Guess how many people (including me) email their submissions at 11:59pm? Yeah. I realize that’s not an exact example of Parkinson’s Law, but if the deadline was Monday night, would it still take until Tuesday night to get it done? No. It would be done on Monday at 11:59pm – a full 24 hours earlier.