GTD 2006.32: Known and Unknown Tasks
There's a very specific type of task you need to handle in GTD as carefully as a ticking time bomb: the task where you think you know how long it should take, but you don't know for sure how long it will take.
Here's a couple of recent things I thought I knew how long they would take, but did not:
- Creating a Movable Type Blog (I know TypePad, so I should know how long this takes...)
- Combining a blog with a traditional web site (I know TypePad and how to build a web site, so I should know how long it would take...)
- Converting a Movable Type blog to a WordPress blog. (I know MT, I know html and php, I should know how long it would take...)
- Deploying an ASP 2.0/SQL Server Express web application to a client's server. (I don't know how long it will take, but the demos made it look so easy.)
The common theme amongst these types of tasks is 1) they're online, 2) various forms of marketing hype and demos made it look easy, 3) I didn't have recent personal experience doing this task.
Programmers get caught holding this particular time (pun intended) bomb all the time: you think it's going to take say X hours to gabberize a widget because you know how to paderac a widget and you've seen the demos, and they did it in just Y minutes and the next thing you know you've spent 20X hours.
Any programmer can tell you their own horror stories substituting their programming language for "gabberize" and "paderac"; the point is the more of your life you spend online, the more you become a programmer. (Even if it's "application programming" like setting up gmail effectively rather than "true programming")
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