Why you should always set a timeframe
Now that you’ve created a few different to-do lists, it’s time to tackle time. As in, using a timer.
We have an endless variety of timers in our house. There’s the bedtime timer, the naptime timer, the dinner time timer, the time out timer, the “it’s time to leave” timer, the “we’re done watching shows” timer – you get the idea.
A timer separates the emotion from the task. A timer also adds structure to our day and routines.
Even as an adult, it’s easy to say, “Oh, just one more [minute][snack][post][chapter].” This can lead to procrastination, over-indulging or never doing what needs to get done.
I am truly terrible at estimating the amount of time it takes to do a particular task. Particularly for tasks I loathe, I vastly over estimate the amount of time it actually takes.
(Please tell me I’m not the only one who has spent hours dreading cleaning the bathroom, only for it to take a mere 10-15 minutes once I just do it.)
Even when it’s tasks and projects I want to do, I tend to overestimate how much I can get done in a given time frame.
A simple solution: Include an estimate of how long each task will take directly on your to-do list.
This allows you to see up front where you have overcommitted yourself or where you have more bandwidth.
For example, the day that I had what seemed like a reasonable number of tasks – until I listed out the estimated time frame – and I had 6.5 hours of work slated for a 4 hour block of time. No wonder I always feel behind!
An added bonus is that if you are consistent with estimating time for each task, your time estimating skills will quickly become much more accurate.
While any old timer will work, I tend to use the built-in timer on my iPhone most frequently. Occasionally, I’ll also use the stopwatch if I’m not sure how long a task will take and want to track the total time.
This post is part of 31 Timesaving Tools, Tips & Templates, read the rest of the series here.