Featured on today’s solo episode of The Productive Designer podcast, host Crystal Collinson dives deep into something that we all fall victim to, the term “planning fallacy”. It’s a familiar experience that is explored by social psychologists since the term was coined by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky in 1979.
Planning fallacy refers to an optimistic prediction bias in which people underestimate the time that it will actually take to complete a task. Despite knowing that similar tasks that you’ve performed in the past have typically taken longer. We tend to exclude many variables that are out of our control and only think of some parts of the task that we can control. Therefore, we grossly underestimate how long something is gonna actually take to complete. When it comes to projects this depends on what type of fee system you are working with. Whether you’re on an hourly or a flat fee, we are all guilty of not charging for every hour that we have worked.
There are studies that show how we can overcome this fallacy. That is learning to break down our projects into more bite-size and manageable tasks. By doing so, we have a much better idea of estimating the amount of time each of those specific tasks is going to take. This is where time blocking comes in. The challenge is actually sticking to what you planned to do in that specific time. Because there will always be something that will try to distract you from your intended action.
There is really no one-size-fits-all approach to overcoming the planning fallacy. Things are going to happen that are not on your schedule, but has there ever really been an actual “design emergency”? The answer is NO! The trick is breaking things down into bite-sized pieces, setting out your intentions on when and where to do these tasks and then sticking to actually following through…yes easier said than done.
So now go do something today that your future self will thank you for and listen to this short episode.
Time Blocking episode