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Planning fallacy, do we know how long it takes to complete a task?

Planning fallacy, do we know how long it takes to complete a task?

There are people who make calculations and estimates of the time it will take to complete each task too optimistic. It is what it refers to the planning fallacy, which we will talk about in this article.

What is the planning fallacy

Lists This word is present in the day to day of many people who need to have total control over what they do daily. Crossing out tasks from these lists is a pleasure without which they cannot live.

The fallacy of planning is a term that was first coined in 1979 by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. It is one of the most studied cognitive biases in the world.

Its meaning is as follows:we are too optimistic when estimating time We will need to finish doing something. The tasks and projects calculated inexactly and too optimistically, finally have economic, social and personal costs.

Typically, this happens only with your own tasks. That is, with what we are going to do ourselves. In part, this is linked to the self-demand that in many cases we have towards our own person.

In fact, if we were asked to estimate the time that another person is going to devote to this task, we are likely to think that it will take longer than they should. This is what is known as the planning fallacy.

This has nothing to do with the ignorance of the work or task that is going to be done, but it happens even with tasks that we have already done on many occasions and tasks similar to others in which we already have experience.

The explanation to this is as follows: when we plan it's normal for us to put ourselves in the most optimistic scenario. In this scenario, there is no place for unforeseen events. This is the first and big mistake, because unforeseen events are part of our day to day.

There is also a part of illusory thinking in the person, because it focuses more on the result than on the path to be taken to obtain it. Thus, reason is not part of the planning process.

It also happens that over time we usually see what we did with optimism and a component of bias. That is to say, we see in a distorted way what happened in similar projects, and we blame that external elements did not go well.

Sometimes it is common that it also happens as a way of impressing when working in a group, or that it is intended to minimize the costs to impress a boss, or a friend or partner, if we move to the person field.

As we can intuit, it is a problem that produces a strong frustration, because at the end of the day there are always tasks to be done. The worst comes when these tasks accumulate and the state of anxiety occurs.

How to solve this planning fallacy problem

To solve this very common problem, there are methods that are being developed in many ways and areas. Time management is one of the keys, and there are many theories of how it can be done.

The time management It is important and you have to know many aspects that influence whether planning goes well or not. This especially emphasizes defining priorities, milestones and deadlines. And, of course, in leaving room for these unforeseen events that happen every day and do not depend only on us.

To avoid this, you have to think on a large scale. This is, avoid excess optimism and false expectationsWell, more premeditated planning is necessary and perhaps some extra tools when there are too many tasks to undertake.

There are a number of rules that can be applied, such as 1-2-5. This refers to the fact that you have to concentrate first on one big thing, then three middle things, and finally five small things.

It is also important detect attention leaks. An example: that moment in which we are executing a job and gives us to look at the mobile. We see a message, we stop responding ... It may have only taken us 5 minutes, but regaining our concentration will require at least 10 more minutes again.

Procrastination is another thing that affects planning. It is common for us to lazily undertake a task and end up digressing into others of less importance to finally leave the most important for last. Knowing what our hours of greatest productivity are and applying them to more complex tasks is also positive.

In short, as you have seen, the planning fallacy can be a major problem. So take note of all that we have told you and try not to make planning an obsession.