Do you find it’s a challenge to estimate how long something’s going to take?

We here in cubicle trends suggest that people should schedule their time in their calendar, and that means that you’re going to have to estimate how long something’s going to take.

The question is

  • What if you thought that it was going to take 10 minutes to accomplish something and it really took hours?

  • What do you do in that situation?

Here are some tips, first to keep that from happening, and then second, what to do when it happens.

1. Estimating = muscle

If you feel like you need more help with it, start by using a timer. Whatever you’re going to do next, use that timer to estimate how long it’s going to take. The more you practice doing this, the better you’re going to get at seeing how good you are at estimating and that muscle will build.

2. Over-estimate, and the estimate should be an extra 50%

So if you think such task or project will take 2 hours, estimate that it’s going to take 180 minutes, that’s 50% more estimate. On worst cases, if you find yourself with extra time, it’s going to feel like you got a bonus and you can use that time to get caught up on something else.

3. Adding buffer space in your schedule

Avoid having a schedule that’s completely full, tight and back to back to back appointments. That’s leaving you with no room for error in a day where all of us are going to get interrupted. Instead, make sure that you’ve got an extra time to allow yourself to catch up if you underestimated how long a task or project is going to take.

4. Regrouping

Now, what if you do go over?

In that case, if you run out of time, STOP! Do not try to continue working and then make everything else get late. Instead, regroup and refresh, put it down in an approved gathering point.

  • Email yourself

  • Write down something in your notepad

5. Re-processing

Re-process that note later from what you gathered, and then put it back in the calendar with the extra buffer. The more you practice this, the stronger you will get at it and estimating is a powerful skill to helping you with your time management.

CTTO to the images used.

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