In the years I spent in the software industry, one thing I learned (sometimes the hard way) is that estimating how long things take is not easy. We often asked our development and marketing teams how long it would take to perform certain task or implement certain features, and sometimes we got ambitious estimates, with actual delivery dates ending up being several folds later than expected, and other times we got heavily "sandbagged" answers, leading to not taking on these projects, and therefore missed windows of opportunities.
When it comes to our personal and team tasks, whether high-tech or whatever low tech endeavor is being pursued, the skill of knowing how long things take is highly desired and yet not so easy to come by.
One way to learn this is to define a purpose, time yourself, and track progress!
Here is an overview of the techniques and Download The_Results_Curve_tm_eBook (free of charge) to learn more:
- For individual tasks, develop a Micro-PlanTM. Create a brief outline at the beginning of your work session, listing key steps that you need to get done in order to complete the selected task.
- Time yourself. Use a countdown timer and set it for the desired time period, preferably no longer than 40 minutes before you take a break or switch to a collaborative session.
- Compare actual results to original plan, and do this often, so that reality sinks in, and not only you become a better estimator, but you start to ferociously get rid of unnecessary parts and side distractions and stay focused on the core task and get much more accomplished.
Download The_Results_Curve_tm_eBook (free of charge) to learn more about Micro-PlanningTM, about the use of the timer, and about the power of focusing