Time Management Tip: Why You Should Give Yourself More Time to Work on a New Project

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Photo of workmen as a clock, photography by R. IsipAre you starting work on a new project, task or assignment?

You’ve got all your tools and materials lined up and you’re ready to go.

There is one thing you might not have considered: you’ll probably need more time than you think you need to get the job done.

Here are a handful of solid reasons to strongly reconsider giving yourself more time to work on a new project:

Exploring uncharted territory means taking wrong turns.

While it might sound easy enough to perform a task on paper, it’s a whole completely different thing in practice.

You’ll probably go through any number of wrong turns or mistakes (unintentionally, of course) as you work your way through a new project such as: forgetting an important item or document, running out of supplies, having to retrace your steps and starting again, and so on.

Carefully monitor your progress and keep an eye out for potential setbacks as you work.

Some tasks require mastering sub-tasks first.

Following up on the previous point, there are times when you have to stop the main work you are doing and take a side trip to learn a related task.

Let’s say you want to print up a bunch of party invitations using your new home printer. You’ve designed the invitations on the computer and are ready to go to print, but then realize you don’t know which way to insert the paper so it prints on the right side of the invitation.

You have to take some time to read your printer’s manual and do some printing experiments of your own. It’s a good idea to not underestimate different tasks involved in a new project; in particular, how familiar/unfamiliar you are with complete each sub-task.

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Interruptions are par for the course.

How many times has this happened to you? You get started working on something in earnest when all of a sudden…the phone rings. Perhaps there’s a knock at the door or an urgent email or text comes in requesting your immediate assistance.

Although you’d like to fully focus on your new project, things do happen and life moves on.

Sometimes you have to put aside what you’re working on to address an issue or concern.

Enthusiasm is no match for exhaustion.

As excited as you may be to begin work on a new project, your enthusiasm will only take you so far.

Yep, there’s a small little thing called “tiredness” that will eventually rears its ugly head.

The excitement of working on a new project or task can often mask feelings of fatigue or tiredness.

Do yourself a favor and schedule in pre-set breaks, snacks, meals and rest time. Sure, it will take more time to finish what you started, but at least you won’t be worn out or ragged when you get there.

Now to you…how do you go about estimating how long it will take you complete a new project or another incarnation of a previous project? Do you go by past experience, recommendations or research? Leave a comment below and join in the conversation!

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Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.
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