Estimating time

One thing I’m particularly terrible at, is estimating how long something will take. I invariably way way way underestimate. Which ends me meaning that I have either work crazy hours to hit deadlines or admit, sheepishly, that I’m not done yet and need more time.

Personally, I actually usually do the second. I’m just not great at working all hours – I like my sleep too much. I also do not get better and more productive the later it gets. Instead I start trying to work while day dreaming about going and lying down on my bed and drifting off to sleep.

I really do wish I was better at this. Mainly because I hate when I end up in situations (like currently) where I feel like I’m constantly telling people “it’ll be done this week.” I’ve been doing this for a few weeks now. And in fact, a few weeks ago, when I started, I remember thinking “wow, I’m so on top of my goals for this summer.” Umm, yeah, not so much.

Okay, I’m not behind on my goals. I’m just not as far along. I’ve been consistently plugging away at work. And I’ve been consistently making progress. I’m closer than I’ve ever been. But I’m not there yet. I will be. Next week, promise. 😛

My supervisor has brought up the ability to estimate time before. Not specifically directed at me (whew) but just in general at a meeting. He was asking for some people to provide an estimate on how long something was going to take. After seeing the “deer in the headlights” look from many of them, he followed this with a “it doesn’t have to be perfect, just a guess.” And then we had a bit of discussion about the possible estimate along with making these. He pointed out that people aren’t great at estimates – especially at the beginning of your career. But, the more you practice, the better you will become.

And not only will you become better at it, but you’ll learn a lot about yourself. For example, with my current project, I’m realizing that I vastly underestimate the amount of time it’ll take for testing. I’m a lot better about how long it’ll take to add a new feature or change something around. But I always assume (terribly) that testing will only require a day or two. 😳 However, I’m learning this about myself, and can take it into consideration when I make my next estimate, which will hopefully be more accurate than my current one (which shouldn’t be too hard).



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