Correctly assessing your expenditure of time – the professionals’ best tips

by Bernd on October 7, 2013 · 0 comments

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There is more to sensibly planning your day than just determining the things that need to be done. You should also temporally anchor your tasks in your daily routine. But how? Expenditure of time is often wrongly estimated. With these tips, you can get more realistic results.

1) Make small tasks out of big ones

The more precisely you divide big tasks into sub-tasks, the better you can assess the actual expenditure of time. An additional benefit: small tasks seem more feasible than big ones – the motivation for your work increases! It is advisable to set yourself a target figure and to break all tasks that take longer down to this figure. Andy Lester recommends a limit of four hours per sub-task. Longer periods of time can hardly be realistically estimated.

2) Question estimates

Our expectations as to when a task should be finished strongly influence our estimations. The result: assessments that are far too optimistic – and in the worst case angry customers, for even the most appealing promises are useless if you can’t deliver on time. If you often incorrectly estimate, get into the habit of surcharging a 30% security buffer – by default! If you are finished early, all the better: enjoy your additional leisure time!

3) Review estimates

You know your target figures – compare them to your actual figures! Handy time management tools like TimeTac’s project time tracking allow for not only automatic handling of your jobs that need doing, but also help you in spotting your strong and weak points. Set allocated times for whole projects and single tasks. The actual time expenditure can be efficiently registered by mouse click. At the end of the day you can compare: was your assessment correct?

4) Learn from experience

You have realized that the expenditure of time on your projects is higher than you assumed? Now is the time to act! Find out whether you can improve your operating cycles. The answer is yes? Start with sensible measures. Your estimate was merely too optimistic? Start by billing your customers by your actual expenditure of time. Only then will your work get the appreciation it deserves.

Have you ever wrongly estimated your expenditure of time? What tips do you have for correctly estimating it?

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