# Video:Estimating Durations

4 February 2023

## Estimating Durations

Sometimes you are given a new and complex task and you have no real idea of how long it will take, and so no way to estimate duration. Here’s how.

Have you ever been given a task to do, and had to estimate how long it’s going to take – its duration – and you haven’t a clue? It’s a brand new task, you’ve no idea how long it’s going to take, it’s quite complex, lots of different elements in it, but you’ve got to come up, somehow, with an estimate.

So I’d like you to think of that kind of situation, where you’ve got a task, you’ve got to estimate how long it’s going to take, and you don’t know. So I’d like you to think of a task that fits that description. Pause this video if you need to, have a think, come back when you’re ready. OK – so you’ve got a task in mind, and you don’t know how long it’s going to take. Here’s a simple idea for finding an estimate. It seems a bit crazy, but it works for a lot of people.

So here we go. I’m going to offer you these two hands, and each hand represents an extreme measure of time. This one represents seconds. This one represents years. So I’m going to ask you, in terms of the task you’re thinking about – do you think that the time it will take is better measured in seconds, or years? The chances are it’s going to be neither of those, but come on, have a shot – would you rather measure in seconds or years? Let’s say you’re going to choose years. OK. I’ll move to the next smallest unit: minutes. Minutes or years? Years. Next unit: hours or years? Years. Days or years? Years. Weeks or years? Weeks. Weeks or months? I’ve move down from years to the next unit level, which is months. Weeks or months? Weeks. Well, now it would be 4 weeks at the maximum, otherwise it would be months. So you’ve said weeks, so it’s either 1 week or 4 weeks – otherwise you’d be measuring in months. 1 week or 4 weeks? Closer to 4. OK – 2 weeks to 4 weeks? Still closer to 4. OK – there’s your estimate: between 3 and 4 weeks. That’s it.

## More L&D videos for you...

28 April 2023

Urgent vs. Important
... and why allowing yourself to be swept along the urgent conveyor belt might not end so well.
Urgent vs. Important open »

15 March 2023

Brick, Splash, Bucket
A metaphor for managing overload... 4 possible options... and in particular, how the impact of time spent on tasks may make a crucial difference…
Brick, Splash, Bucket open »

2 March 2023

Discipline & Time Management
Motivation, strategy and discipline; 3 key factors which make a significant difference to the likely success of any activity... but when it comes to time management, discipline is by far the most important of the 3.
Discipline & Time Management open »

3 July 2022

Customer Service Grid
Four key factors your organisation needs to get right to please and retain your customers; your core and ancillary services, and your standards and targets
Customer Service Grid open »

13 June 2022

Saying ‘No’
A short video offering a simple technique for saying no in a positive and helpful fashion...
Saying ‘No’ open »

24 April 2022

LSA
How can we consistently make a positive impression on others? This video shows you how...
LSA open »
would you like to write for us?... please get in touch :-)

## Related courses & resources...

#### Video:

... and why allowing yourself to be swept along the urgent conveyor belt might not end so well.

#### Video:

A metaphor for managing overload... 4 possible options... and in particular, how the impact of time spent on tasks may make a crucial difference…

Don't like to email?...
That's ok. We love to pick up the phone.

... Or you can message us on whatsapp.

We'd love to e-meet you... let’s go for a virtual coffee :)

For workshops and coaching sessions, you can check availability & book using the form below. Pay now online, or later by invoice - it's up to you.