If you’re a person who tends to underestimate how long things will take, this one’s for you.
It might seem like this is a relatively minor thing.
“Oh, I should have given myself 90 minutes instead of 60 minutes to do this task. Good to know, not a biggie.”
But think of the compounding nature of this habit: If you underestimate 10 daily tasks by 15 minutes each, you’ve underestimated your daily load by 2.5 hours.
Doing this 5 days a week means you’ve underestimated a 40-hour workweek by 12.5 hours!
But, it’s actually more than that, because you’re now spending time questioning, rearranging, and trying to reprioritize.
What happens with this additional time? You either end up overworking (again!), or you mentally carry the weight of these hours of work, with no (real) intention of actually doing all that extra work.
That is the invisible weight of chronic underestimation.
And here’s the double-whammy: You end your days and weeks with a perpetual sense of dissatisfaction—because you expected yourself to do work that you were never actually going to get done.
Chronic underestimation robs you of feeling a sweet sense of accomplishment, pride, and satisfaction.
Luckily, each and every deep work session is the perfect lab to learn to properly estimate your time.
Today, spend a few minutes with these questions:
In what percent of your deep work sessions have you underestimated how much time you needed?
How much time have you underestimated by?
Knowing what you know now, which of these solutions are for you? 1. I need to reduce the volume of work I take on in each deep work session. 2. I need to improve my focus on the task at hand. 3. I need to recognize when I’m being perfectionism, and learn to stop indulging my perfectionist tendencies.