Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

Time Estimation

I consistently underestimate or overestimate how long something is going to take, or how long it will take to get somewhere.   Is this a common problem for us?  If others have experience with this and found ways to improve, I'd love to hear about it!



What do we have in Common?

In reading all of the comments, it seems like we must have something in common. I want to mention some of my characteristics to see if we share some common threads.

  1. I'm approximately 40 lbs over weight.
  2. I don't exercise the way I should
  3. I don't have the patience to read, although I've been tested for ADD and that's been ruled out.
  4. I try my best to stay out of conflicts. I even prefer staying out of people's business.
  5. I spend a lot of time researching and finding books and developing plans but do not follow through with reading the books or executing the plan.
  6. I sleep approximately 6 hours a night.
  7. I'm a semi hoarder
  8. I get really tired when I have to handle a task so I just put it off.
  9. When I start cleaning and I get really into it, I do an awesome job.1
  10. My finances are out of whack and I have more expenses then income. Even when I have the money to pay bills, I skip paying them.
  11. As a kid, I took things for granted and thought that the world revolved around me and I would always get bailed out by my parents.
  12. My feelings get hurt if I'm criticized so I just avoid having to be told that I did something wrong although I know how important this is for ones development.

Thoughts? Cho-   


I have the same problem

I have the same problem. Most of the time I underestimate how long it will take to complete a major task or project. Smaller simpler task I overestimate how long it takes.

I have tried several different methods.

Time logs discourage me because I can never get to the reflective stag of the process. I become very discourage when I realize how much time it has actually taken me to complete a task.

Creating a daily timed schedule also discourages me because once I go over the anticipated time I feel that I have "blown it" and I have to start over.

For simple task I will set a timer and this really helps me. Usually I will set the timer for 5 minutes less then what I expect the task to take. When the timer goes off I check my progress and reset it if need be.

For major projects and task it is best that I just break it down into as many smaller task as I can. This present a problem because until I do something I do not know what I will have to do until I am done. Therefore, I always have tasks to complete that I did not consider. There for, my project time will usually be over or under

Most of the time I just work off of a Master To Do List. The only problem with it is that I never seem to get to some of the things that I would really like to do, and if I do then I feel guilty because I know that there are more important items on my list.

This site has really helped me a lot. I use my Living Live post (which is a work in progress) to plan out the important things going on in my life and things I would like to do. I update it and maintain it almost daily. This is the guide for daily plans. I have had 3 very productive weeks using this approach. I did not accomplish all things when I wanted to and some things are still not accomplished. However my feelings of accomplishment are GREAT.

There is a quote by Michael Jordan that I always keep in mind when I am discourage about my progress and it just makes me remember that I am a work in progress and that I will succeed.

"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." As quoted by Michael Jordan


All the books on

All the books on procrastination mention this. It's certainly something I struggle with, so I'm also awaiting others' replies.

For myself at the moment, I have given up on expecting to be really accurate at estimating time and my small progress is to focus on ...just staying busy--well, the message of Monica's signature--just make sure I keep doing something instead of nothing. Farther down the line, I'll face this time estimation more directly.

it's hard for me too

I have trouble with this as well. Usually I underestimate how much time a task will take me, creating more stress when I expect to be done but am not.

I think this stems from my habit of staying up late into the night (or all night) to finish essays and projects--because I don't usually work by a schedule, but instead just decide to try and keep going until it's done, I lose track of how much time I'm spending working versus avoiding the work. Don't remember the last time I've finished something due in the morn *without* staying up half the night or more, so my judgement there is sort of skewed and I end up just expecting not to sleep (a self-fulfilling prophecy of course). 

"Been There Done That"

Kristne said "Don't remember the last time I've finished something due in the morn *without* staying up half the night or more"

When I was in college this was always the case for me. However the reason I did it was beacause the task where not something that I wanted to do so I would have to wait utill late in the night to do complete the task because there was nothing else that I could do (stores where closed, did not have cable, everyone was a sleep......)  and of course it was due the next day.

I am a little better at it now. I will not wait to the last min. to start but I usually do have to spend a lot of time the night before finishing up whatever task is due the next day.  I am an excellent starter but a very poor finisher. Working at getting better day by day.

I am hoping to start my masters in 2010 and it does have me a bit worried because I can not stay up all night to complete assignments. I am older and I have others that depend on me being well rested and alert.