The Planning Fallacy: Why We Always End Up Overloaded At Work - Carney
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The Planning Fallacy: Why We Always End Up Overloaded At Work

How long is your to-do list right now? If you’re like us, it’s long. Real long. And that likely stems from how much we love saying “yes” to things.

Everyone says “yes” too often because we’re all really bad at estimating how long a project will take to complete. It’s called the planning fallacy. So when the boss asks if you can do something by Friday, you say “yes” because you truly think you can. But in reality, you can’t. Or you’re going to be working long hours to make it happen.

So there’s our problem. We say yes too much and we’re really bad at planning. So where do we go from here? Well, assuming you’re not Doc Brown and don’t have a time machine to go back in time and turn that “yes” to a “no,” you’ve got 3 options:

  1. Organize that to-do list. You need to determine what needs to be done today, what can wait until tomorrow, and what you can put off for another few days. Yes, actually reorganize your to-do list in that order. This will help you stay on task and focus on the work that needs to be done now, even if it isn’t much fun.
  2. Delegate what you can. If you have a direct report who can handle some things, toss those tasks over to them. If you’re not in a management position, ask your coworkers for help. They’re likely willing to lend a hand. If you work alone, look at some productivity bots to handle some tasks for you.
  3. Push back deadlines. Yep, you can do this without looking unprofessional. There’s a template for this in today’s Read, but the most important thing when doing this is to offer an alternative timeline. Don’t just leave it open-ended.

Alright, so this Read isn’t 100% marketing focused, but we could all use a little help with working more efficiently, right?


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