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Next Month I'm Not As Busy - Right!

Updated: May 19, 2022

I was reading an article linked below about time. I resonated so much with our ability to overestimate our future available time easily. It is so true! The thing I see in myself and others that is even more stress-producing than our overestimating our future available time is our inability to estimate how long tasks will take us properly. If you click on the linked article, you will see a study that was performed, but I need no study! I am the study. I want to produce so much, and so many good things that I over-commit my schedule until it bursts. I think that a task will only take me 30 minutes when it will actually take me an hour, and the backup begins.

This isn’t about productivity for me. It is about stress. It is that wonderful hormone cortisol running through my circulatory system for far longer than it was designed. The hippocampus, pituitary, adrenal gland open circuit that causes damage in our bodies are stuck in part because I haven’t estimated correctly.

We Overestimate Our Future Available Time

We know we are busy right now. Yet, we are willing to commit to tasks a month or two in the future because we think that we will have more time then.

We’ve all been there! When that commitment comes due we ask ourselves, “What was I thinking committing to this?!”

Psychologists John Lynch and Gal Zauberman did a study to find out what’s happening. “On average, an individual will be just as busy 2 weeks or a month from now as he or she is today. But that is not how it appears to be in everyday life,” they found. “People often make commitments long in advance that they would never make if the same commitments required immediate action.”

We are bad at estimating our future available time because we see our current time-crunchers as unique to right now. The reality is, you will have a whole new set of time constraints when that future commitment rolls around.

Read the rest of the article here and revisit your schedule and make course corrections. My strong proposal is to build in open time until you have a handle on your propensity to overcommit and underestimate.

Reposted with permission.

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