How To Get Work Done Without Stretching Yourself Thin – Pick Dave’s Brain

Could you pass the insanity test?

This week’s question comes from David in Salem, West Virginia. He asks:

I’m following your time management training program, yet often I find I’m putting appointments on my calendar and then not completing them—often because I underestimate how long it takes to complete other tasks. How do you deal with items that you don’t get done on your calendar?

Click to tweet this: You wouldn’t ask one employee to do a two-person job. Why schedule an hour for a two-hour task? @DaveCrenshaw

Could you pass the insanity test?

This week’s question comes from David in Salem, West Virginia. He asks:

I’m following your time management training program, yet often I find I’m putting appointments on my calendar and then not completing them—often because I underestimate how long it takes to complete other tasks. How do you deal with items that you don’t get done on your calendar?

Dave:

I see this a lot with the clients I work with one on one. Before we discuss how to deal with the incomplete tasks, I want to reduce the amount of incomplete tasks altogether.

Let me allude to an old proverb. You take a person to a pond and ask them to empty it. If they take a bucket and try to empty the pond without looking for the stream that’s feeding into it, they’re insane. The sane person looks for the stream and dams it before they start trying to empty the pond.

What you want to do is dam the stream, so to speak, and reduce the amount of tasks that are unresolved. Many people have too many unresolved tasks because they underestimate how long it takes to complete them. So instead, you’ll want to overestimate.

Have a hard time estimating? I recommend that you start by doubling the amount of time that you think things are going take. So if you guess a task will take half an hour, schedule an hour of time on your calendar. Also, leave buffer space in your calendar. That way, if something happens that gets in the way, takes a little bit longer, you have the flexibility to get everything done.

Now if you do these two things, you’re going to start to realize what many people confront when they take a look at how they manage their time:

You simply have more to do than you have room in your calendar.

So, be more strategic about the things that you say yes to, and say no to things more often.

Now, what if we do all that and you still have unresolved tasks? Well, the answer is simple. We put them back into an approved gathering point such as putting it back in your inbox, or sending yourself an email, and then reprocess it during processing time.

Thanks for the great question, David!

And if you have a question for me, all you need to do is go to DaveCrenshaw.com/ask and you can send me a question that I’ll respond to on a video like this.

Thanks for watching. I look forward to seeing your great question.


Wish you had more time? What if you could uncover dozens of free hours every week, with just a few simple tweaks? Find freedom with a free copy of Dave’s guidebook, How to Get 10 Free Hours Every Week, by clicking here.