Does it really take me only five minutes to email a network colleague? Does that include writing, editing, and proofreading? And what if I want to include a link to an interesting article? What about networking meetings or interviews? How long is the meeting? What’s the travel time – both ways? Does that shopping errand really take ten minutes?

I don’t know about you, but I notice I don’t always look at the whole picture when I figure the time for a task. A two-hour network meeting can really be a four-hour block of time, when I include travel time (especially here in Los Angeles)!! And that five-minute email may actually take me fifteen minutes. And I need to remember that the ten minute shopping errand is almost never ten minutes!

Do I want to “do lunch” with a friend? Sure! I simply need to figure travel time and time at the restaurant.

I need to look at the whole picture when I’m scheduling my day or a specific activity. That way I notice what’s realistic. And once I allow for the right amount of time, I will be on time, won’t feel rushed or overloaded, and if it’s a social event, I’ll enjoy my friend’s company.

How long does a task really take? That depends on several variables. If the task is a meeting and I’m driving, I need to factor in travel time (to and from), as well as time at the event. If it’s a business meeting, include networking chat. And if it’s a mundane task like shopping – remember that the check-out lines take time!

What are your tips for scheduling your tasks?