Even though it feels like it flew by way too fast, I feel like I had a pretty productive weekend.
We were going to go over to Disney again, but bailed at the last minute due to concerns about the weather and just ended up staying home. My wife picked up a copy of The Hunger Games and read it pretty much cover-to-cover, so I had loads of time to catch up on various creative projects and clear out some things that have been bogging me down for a while. I ended up finishing off two specific projects that have been on my list since god knows how long, and as I look ahead to what I want to tackle next, something very apparent hit me square in the face – I am absolutely horrible at setting timelines for my creative tasks!
Take the two that I had just finished up this weekend, for instance:
- Task #1 – originally estimated to take “1-2 weeks” … final result: 4 weeks!
- Task #2 – originally estimated to take “a few hours” … final result: 10-12 hours!
I’m just really bad at estimating how long these things take, sometimes even to the point where I think it might be hurting me in the long run because I’ll build out a timeline for the next six months and then find myself increasingly frustrated as I pass deadlines where I’m supposed to be moving on to other things and instead am still only halfway through the first. I’ve thought about just taking my original estimate and doubling it, but that seems a bit drastic when I’ve got some that are expected to take months, though I’d prefer them not to take up my entire year…
Then again, a big part of productivity in general, I think, is really a sanity factor and lately I’ve been thinking a lot about improving the quality of my work by means other than just dumping loads of time into it (i.e. getting more rest and relaxation), and so to an extent I guess part of me wonders if stress could ultimately play a role in that process, too. I remember hearing a story once about an auto repair shop who would always quote its customers as much as double the amount of time that they needed to do the actual job. The reason they cited was expectations – if you call a customer and tell him you need another hour, he’s probably going to be disappointed, however if you call to say that you finished the work early, that’s something to be excited about and ultimately helps to better promote their business because then they’ve got customers walking around saying that this shop always gets their car in and out ahead of schedule!
Granted, it might take a little getting used to – especially if you’ve got other shops to compare the work to, but in something like my case when it’s all just in my head, why not add a little extra padding to my own expectations of time spent? Worst case scenario, I end up needing every bit of that time and just make it at the buzzer, but admittedly it always feels good to finish early!
*Ahem* – almost always…
…I think I’m just going to go ahead and get back to work now… 😛