Are you a bit of a time optimist?
Do you often take on a new task thinking: “Oh - I can easily squeeze this in between the next two meetings”?
Only to find that you needed the time between meetings to go to the bathroom, find your papers, respond to an urgent email and a question from a colleague...
And at the end of the day, you’re feeling deflated and behind in your work – even if you’ve been crazy busy all day?
If you recognize this kind of scenario - then today’s episode is for you!
I’m going to share what I call “3 secret steps” to how time estimation can make your workday less frazzled and support your UN Career.
And it’s not a gimmick when I talk about secrets here, because the skill of time estimation seems to be a well-kept secret in most organizations I’ve worked with, and definitely also in the UN!
You can find the show notes for this episode at www.barbarakandersen.com/25.
Lack of time estimation means lack of realism
Does that sound dramatic? Well, I’ve taught personal effectiveness tools to hundreds of clients and whenever we discuss to-do lists and the value of time estimation, people will jump through all kinds of hoops to avoid doing it.
But when they sit down with me and we go through their to-do list together, it turns out that often their lists are off the charts. And sometimes wildly off the charts.
Because what they write down is what they’d LIKE to get done. Not what they have time to do.
I see people planning tasks for 8 or 10 hours, when maybe they only have 3 or 4 hours, considering meetings, lunch and other planned events.
So, what does it mean for your workday, when your planning is unrealistic? It means that very often you don’t get done what you had planned which has two unhappy side effects:
You feel behind – and that makes you feel deflated You easily get into situations where you have trouble delivering what you have promised to othersBoth of which are bad for your self-esteem and can affect your reputation in the long run.
3 secrets to how time estimation can improve your work and your UN Career
Without some element of time estimation, it’s impossible to get a realistic picture of how much time you have available – and how much time you need.
So, why don’t we all do it? Well, as far as I can see there are three reasons for that:
Nobody taught us that we should do it – or how to do it!When we hear about it we suspect it will be difficult and take too much time!We don’t want to face the fact that we don’t have time for everything. And I’ll share an example of that in a moment. So today I want to share with you the 3 simple steps to make realistic and effective planning with time estimation:
Write your tasks down.Estimate how much time you think you need for each task, and write it down next to the task.Add up the time you’ve estimated and compare to how much time you’ve got available. So, as you can see it’s not rocket science. The secret lies in being consistent!
If we for example look at your workday in the office, it might look like this...
Read the full show notes at www.barbarakandersen.com/25 where you’ll also find the detailed description of how to use the 3 steps, I mention above.