One of the biggest issues that many of the people I mentor have is that the fail to plan, budget, estimate and track their time schedules accurately.
Too often people fail to accurately estimate the correct amount of time to do “stuff”
It could be they have a number of cognitive biases that lead them to underestimate how long a project/activity/task will take.
they underestimate because they don’t want to seem inefficient
they fail to take account of the setup time
they fail to account for the learning curve associated with a new activity.
they fail to see the impact and dependencies caused by one item over running
There are a number of things that you can do to manage the risk better and learn for the next time.
These steps are simple
- Break the activity to a task – ideally no individual task should be longer than 1-3 hours
- Set things up and plan your day (allowing for breaks, etc)
- Put your tasks and times (remember time will expand if you don’t try to put a cap on it, you can keep on trying to make it better etc)
- track the time while you are working at the task
- review and recast if the forecast time looks like over-running
- Allow time for contingencies and problems (eg technical problems)
- communicate to your manager/team/client when you have a risk so there are no surprises, which often means more time is lost managing expectations and smoothing ruffled feathers.
reviewing with a buddy or a team review process can also help (see the video attached)
By keeping things in a tight loop your feedback loop in time estimation will improve and your confidence at estimating time durations will improve as will your credibility
Breaking tasks to a granular level will improve planning and reduce steps that you might forget (I can it the step by step guide).