How often do you estimate a project will take 15 minutes? Then, it actually takes an hour? These days tasks take longer because there are so many distractions that could and will happen while doing the tasks. For example, if you are assigning posts in your Hootsuite account to post later on that week, and then, while doing research for those posts, you get preoccupied and go to another site, which then takes you to another site, and another. An hour or two later, you get back to posting to your Hootsuite account. Ugh, isn’t that frustrating? I am here to help you determine how to improve your project time estimation:
Tips on how to improve your project time estimation
- Gather a list of tasks that you do on a regular basis for your business.
- Write a list of tasks.
- Add a column to write how long you ESTIMATE it will take.
- Then add a column for the ACTUAL length of time it took.
- Then add a column for notes of things that distracted you to remind you of the situation.
- Before starting each task, determine how much time you estimate it will take.
- Then, as you do each task, write down how much time it actually took for you to do this task in your office. Use a stopwatch/timer and start the timer when you do the task.
- After you go through your entire task list, compare your estimated time with your actual time. How far off were you? Were you right about the length of time?
Here is a sheet to use to measure your task times.
Keep this list around to remind you of the actual amount of time that it takes to do the different tasks.
By improving your project time estimation, you will be able to manage your workday more efficiently and finish projects more quickly because you are aware of how long it takes to finish a task.
Let me know if the project time estimation helped you manage your time more effectively. I would love to hear from you.
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Janet Barclay says
This is definitely a worthwhile exercise! I tried tracking my time earlier this year and was astonished how much time I was spending on day-to-day tasks such as responding to emails and posting on social media.
Sabrina, honestly, it’s almost impossible to know how long something will take. Sometimes I think someting will take a long time and instead it’s a swift operation. This morning the opposite happened to me. Went to a place where I do some work and tried to connect to the wifi. Not possible on any of the networks available. Finally restarted my computer. Turns out Microsoft had installed a major update on Windows 10 and once that was sorted out I could get online. In other words it took me over an hour. Sigh..
Sabrina Quairoli says
I understand your frustration. This post is great for tasks that are under your control. When you have to deal with other clients, it’s harder. I like this primarily for tasks I do day in and day out to determine how long it actually takes (i.e. sharing other blog posts, commenting on blogs, etc…). Also, I like to track several projects that are similar (i.e. reconciling different client bank statements) and then figure out the average on how long it takes to do the task. This will then give me a range and an average so I know about how long it takes. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.