The Planning Fallacy - Deepstash

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The Planning Fallacy

We tend to underestimate the time it will take to complete a future task despite knowing that previous tasks have taken longer.

What you can do about it:

  • Break projects down into smaller parts and estimate how long each will take.
  • Add 20% to your project timeline. Finishing earlier than expected is better than being surprised by it.
  • Use historical data to make better predictions.
  • Limit the scope of the work. It means leaving off some things for a later stage.
  • When you're going to miss a deadline, communicate that early and often.

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MORE IDEAS FROM THE SAME ARTICLE

We are inclined to believe that complex solutions and explanations are better than simple ones. The perception of complexity often leads to avoidance.

Economists used to believe that people will always choose the option that maximizes their well-being. But people act against their rational self-interest all the time.

This effect describes our tendency to remember incomplete or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks. Each unfinished task takes up some of your attention, splitting your focus. It also interferes with your sleep.

We tend to choose a smaller, immediate reward over a larger reward in the future. For example, playing video games is more enjoyable than writing or coding or designing.

We quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite positive or negative external events. We pursue a promotion and believe it will make us happy. When we get it, we are temporarily happier, only to get back to our baseline levels the next week.

We want to finish what we've started because of previously invested resources, even if it is better to quit and use our limited resources elsewhere for better returns.

This bias addresses why we do unimportant tasks we think are time-sensitive over tasks that are not time-sensitive, even if the non-time-sensitive tasks provide greater rewards.

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