A 10-minute task blew out by 60% ... and I'm delighted!
I had a tiny task to do. I allowed myself 10 minutes. It took me 16. Totally worth it, because I'm going to make it lightning fast next time.
I used a Google Sheet to record the task and included a series of questions for myself.
What's the task ❓
Why does this need to be done ❓
Why does it make sense to do this task now ❓
How long do you estimate this will take ❓
What time did you start ❓[Tip: use a shortcut to insert the time.]
What time did you finish it ❓
How long did this take ❓[Use the spreadsheet formula to make the calculation]
How was this different from your estimate ❓[Use a formula]
What did you intend to do ❓
What did you actually do ❓
What distracted you from your original intention❓
What part of this task might you repeat in the next month ❓
What could you improve ❓
This may seem like a cumbersome process, but in fact, it has made me avoid repetitious work.
In my case, the task was arranging a builder to come and look at some minor work to our kitchen in our new house, so that our fridge will fit.
I sent the builder a calendar invitation, and I included:
the address of the new house (with a link to Google Maps)
the dimensions of the fridge (with a link to the manufacturer's website, including a link to the exact fridge model)
contact details of people who will be arranging access to the house
In simple terms, this shows: where, what and who.
Is this a repeatable task?
We're only getting our kitchen adjusted once, but by ensuring all the essential details are on the calendar event, I'm reducing the risk of:
back-and-forth with text messages
measuring up the fridge (still at the old address), and
having to look up fridge manufacturer information
or contact details for the person granting access.
So, this part is repeatable: the collating of essential information and putting it into a calendar entry.
That puts all parties on the same page, and gets the task on the calendar for everyone.