We run many programmes on how to get the best out of your time, and it’s uncanny how many delegates tell us they can’t manage time.
Well, that’s because time can’t be managed! Duh, time does what it wants to do, which is move on without waiting for you to catch up, buddy!
Time is the continuing sequence of events occurring in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future. It can’t be managed, so don’t even try.
What is really interesting is how incredibly over-optimistic people are when they estimate time. Or, specifically, how long something will actually take them to complete.
When you ask your team mates to estimate how long something will take to accomplish an unfamiliar task, expect them to be overly optimistic. We tend to underestimate because we want to make an impression or we genuinely think that a task will take us a shorter time than in reality.
Here are some tips when asking people when they think a task might be completed:
a) If one of your team starts a job for the first time, and they can devote time to do it, then double the amount of time they say it will take
b) If they have other tasks to do, then triple the estimate they give you
c) If the task requires them to work with other people who need to input information, find out their estimates of how long their share of the tasks will take, and double that.
You’ll be surprised how accurate these assessments are.
You might allocate a certain time to complete a project or a part of a project, and you find afterwards that time has run away. This is probably because of your over-optimism when you first started it.
Be more realistic with your time estimates. That way, when you tell your clients when they can expect results from you, you are more likely to be accurate, rather than having to apologise for your over-optimism.
Head of Training
Originally published: 8 August, 2012