How Overestimation Leads To Procrastination

Rhyme time, baby.

The subject line is in regard to a fault of mine when it comes to personal commitments (like cutting my hair, mowing the lawn, going to the grocery store).

I tend to overestimate the amount of time and effort that are required to do simple activities like those mentioned above, and as a result, I tend to put off doing them.

For example, cutting my hair (I do it myself) takes about 40 minutes including a shower to wash all the excess hair off. I just did it myself recently and it looks a lot better than when I let it grow out and get shaggy. It’s always taken me 40 minutes to do it. Even when I first started more than 10 years ago. And I only do it every 6-8 weeks, so it’s not like it’s a huge time sink, but I often tend to do it closer to 8 weeks when it should be done after 6 just because I “don’t want to take the time” to do it.

This especially applies in the summer time because there are not a lot of higher ROI activities that I can do to make myself feel better than cutting my hair, and still I don’t do it because, in my mind, it’s a chore that takes a lot of time and energy.

Takeaway: Be realistic about the length of time it takes to do tasks that you do on a regular basis. I’m even thinking about making a spreadsheet just so I can stop fooling myself by storing the numbers in my mind and manipulating them “telephone” style whenever it comes time to do them.


Posted on August 19, 2009, in Getting Things Done, Productivity. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on How Overestimation Leads To Procrastination.

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