Time Estimating

Day 143 Week 21 Q2 Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Why do we often struggle with estimating the time required for a task? It’s likely because we’re mistaking the map for the territory. In this context, the ‘map’ represents our initial plan or expectation, while the ‘territory’ is the actual situation we encounter. The map may not account for construction or unexpected detours, which are common in the territory of project execution.

Experienced managers always build in buffers of both time and money. They know things will take longer than they expect and cost more than they expect. and if you are a creative outlier, then you are off from working on projects that are brand new, which means you don’t know that much about them yet.

If it weren’t for deadlines, I could spend my entire life jumping from one learning curve to the next to get the adrenaline rush of figuring out new things. This is a consequence of being very curious and loving change. Of course, I don’t love that everything changes all the time, and many dimensions of my life do not change. I have been living in the same house with the same wife for a long time now. But I don’t want to eat the same thing for dinner every day, play the same guitar every time I perform, or even play the guitar at all every time I perform. When it comes to expression, I love using different tools, including various instruments and many different applications that are constantly updated. But I do not love switching operating systems too often.

If we really knew how hard it would be to do creative new things, we might be less likely to do them. The underestimation of effort is overlooked again and again to help us create tomorrow, for that is the task of creative outliers. We are the people who create tomorrow and harvest infinity and who get a lot of meaning out of doing so.

Just because you can do 1/10 of a project in one hour does not mean that the entire project will take 10 hours unless the project is so repetitive and so lacking and learning that you don’t really want to do it anyway.

There is no way to without getting your hands dirty. There is no way to be creative without getting your mind dirty and a little bit messed up, requiring recalibration and restarting, and usually iterating as well. This is fine because it’s part of the process of creating tomorrow.

This week I had allocated four hours on Monday and four hours on Tuesday to get something done. I ended up spending more like 12 hours than they and it still didn’t get done but other things that needed to get done got done in the process of attempting to complete the first thing. This took a lot of self-control because there were another dozen things I wanted to interrupt myself with but resisted.

In retrospect, I underestimated the time required and also underestimated how much I got done. The result is that the return on investment was greater than anticipated, so I have no complaints.