Why a job always takes 1000 times longer than expected

I have a bad habit at work.

I consistently underestimate the amount of time it takes to do a job. This is partly because I always assume my first idea will work flawlessly (unfortunately, untrue), that when I fabricate something for the job I’ll be able to find everything required right away, and that nothing will ever go wrong.

I am not alone in my struggle with these types of problems at work. But with experience comes the ability to correctly estimate the amount of time it takes to do a task, and allow for extra time if something goes wrong, and know that a job isn’t finished until everything looks better than how you found it.

The cleanup at the end of the job is so often what I forget about during my planning stage. Which ironic because it usually ends up being my favorite part.

It may take me 2 hours to do a job (though usually longer because of all the learning), it may take me at least another 20 minutes after that to put all my tools and materials away, ensure the space I worked in is free of debris, and to sign off the task in the computer and my work log.

This is the part I enjoy the most, as it is putting everything back in order, returning the space back to normal, and make the area safe again for others to work in. It allows me to have piece of mind that someone won’t get hurt by an errant tool lying around, or cause something to break later on because I rushed through the end of the job.

Yes, it takes me longer to do a job, and hopefully with time I’ll become quicker. But as far as I’m concerned, while I’m still learning, slow and steady will always win the race to crew change day.

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