Do you under-estimate the time something will take when planning your work?
A client said she was discovering that many things were taking longer than she originally thought and had originally planned for. (We were discussing the progress she was making in taking control of her schedule and her results.)
This is not an unusual situation, but I was curious, so I started asking questions. For example, she had blocked 90 minutes to write a blog post, but was finding that wasn’t enough time. I wanted to know why was it taking over 90 minutes to write the post.
Like many people, she had collapsed TASK and PROJECT.
It turns out she was:
(1) researching the post,
(2) writing the post,
(3) editing the post,
(4) loading the post up to the blog,
(5) finding just the right image for the post, and finally
(6) publishing the post.
But she was calling that block of time “writing blog post.”
OK, now I see the problem. Like many people, she had collapsed TASK and PROJECT. So, when I asked her to schedule her tasks, she thought she was doing what I said, but in fact she was trying to cram a project into a time slot for a task.
Have you ever done that? And why do you need to keep them distinct?
Well, if she just devoted that 90 minutes to writing, she would have written enough material for 2 or even 3 separate blog posts. She would have kept herself in the flow of writing.
When you break your projects into the separate tasks, you can make huge progress even when you only have little bits of time available. But when you collapse the two – you might not even start because the whole project seems so overwhelming and you just don’t have the time!
How do you know what is a task, and what is a project? Well, the simplest definition: A task is a single action. Anything that requires more than one single step is a project.
Plan a party is a project. Set the date for the party is one task in that project.
Go back over your “task list” – make a note of where you are collapsing tasks with projects. See if you can batch the tasks that are similar.
I promise, you will get MORE done that way.