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It’s two hours before your dinner guests are scheduled to arrive. Let’s see, an hour for prep, 15 minutes to freshen up… that leaves 45 minutes to shop. No problem.

Ok. Seriously? You'll be lucky if you can get to the store and back in an hour, and you know it takes twice as long to get ready as you think it does.

One of the biggest obstacles to good time management is underestimating how long activities actually take. If you try to get to the store, shop, check out, drive home and put everything away in 45 minutes when it really takes 90, you’re going to be late. We're not saying you're not a superstar, it's just that we know you haven't quite yet found that hole in the space-time continuum that allows for cutting all time in half.

For the next week or so, time yourself on everything you do regularly—errands, commuting to work (in traffic), showering and so on. Refer to this list of factual times whenever you attempt to estimate a day or evening in your head and eventually, you’ll stop kidding yourself.

And start to be on time. Imagine what that could do for your organizational skills, to say nothing of your relationships!


Posted: 11/25/08
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It helps me to work backwards from the end time and "time box" my activities into hour or half hour increments. I also give myself a cushion of about a half hour (you'll always need it).