I could never get the hang of Thursdays…Arthur Dent (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)


Arthur Dent I am with you! If fact, I am very aware that this post is coming out on a Friday when I intended it to come out on Thursday–and that my posts have been VERY scarce of late.

I have had every intention of posting something for *ahem* several weeks. It has been on my to-do list every single day, but l keep running out of time! This is different from the procrastinate that I wrote about HERE. I really am working very hard, but just underestimate how much time everything takes to get done!

This is called “Planning Fallacy“. Yes, really.

Planning Fallacy is a tendency for people (or businesses or organizations) to under-estimate how long it will take to complete a task. I am riddled with planning fallacy issues! I have a list of things to do from yesterday (including this blog post) that I intended to have done. There are still a few bits that are uncompleted at the end of today. This is not because I watched too much TV or was avoiding doing the work; I have been working almost non stop on my tasks. I have simply under-estimated how much time it takes to get things done.

Why does this happen? Well, we don’t really know. Researchers (including one of my professors) are trying to figure it out, but so far the reasons are not clear. What we do know is that people are bad judges of how much time it will take them to get things done…they are overly optimistic about how much they can get done.

Now what I should have done was ask my husband or a good friend how much they though it would take me to get my to-do list done. They would have a much more accurate estimate of the time it would take me. It seems other people do not hold the naive optimism that we hold about ourselves when considering how long it will take to complete a task and those who know us well can provide a much more accurate estimate of how long it will take us to complete things!

So I guess tomorrow I will start once again to chip away at my to-do list. I have a huge list to get done tomorrow. things-to-do-listMaybe I will show it to my husband and ask him what he thinks I can do in one day! That won’t change how much I have to do, but maybe it will allow me to realize how much I can do.

I’ll get back to you ASAP and let you know how it goes. Er, well maybe not exactly ASAP, but as soon as possible.

I am confident that will be later tomorrow. Or Sunday. Or perhaps maybe Monday….

Do  you ever underestimate how much time it will take you to complete a task?