Hofstadter’s Law says that things always take longer than you think they will, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.

Now I’ve definitely experienced this in my own life.

Here are two quick examples:

1. I work as a computer programmer, and tasks/projects always take longer than expected. And I don’t mean 10% longer—I mean like 2x or 3x times as long. So when my boss wants to know when an assignment will be complete, I double my estimate. Or triple it.

2. Trying to get my kids ready to leave the house takes way more time than I expect. My little brain says, “This should take like two minutes.” But inevitably, it takes 20 or 30 minutes because someone has to poop, someone has a meltdown, and someone lost their shoes.

These days, I start getting my tiny humans ready 30 minutes beforehand, so we’re seldom late. And life is much happier.

Pro Tip

Start estimating how long things will take you. Afterward, evaluate how far off your estimate was. Over time your estimates will improve immensely.