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  • Writer's pictureDillan Taylor

50% Rule

Human beings are reliably awful at predicting how much time something will take.

“We all know that person who thinks it takes 5 minutes to get to the store because she made it there in 5 minutes once.” – Greg McKeown, from his book Essentialism

Even if it does take 5 minutes to drive somewhere, how long does it take to: gather your things, turn the lights off, put on your jacket, lock the door, walk to the car, start it, pick your music…drive there…find a parking spot, get out of the car, and walk to your destination? Never 5 minutes.

Surprisingly, our estimates are off time and time again; yet we continue this pattern of running late…of needlessly stressing as we rush to get ready or get work done.

I’m a punctual person but naturally I still fall into the traps of time delusion. I’ll give myself an hour to finish working on a web page and at 45 minutes I’ll think, “How the fuck did I think I could finish this in an hour?”

In order to remedy this, I’ve started implementing the 50% rule (also from Greg McKeown).

You simply give yourself an extra 50% of however long you think it will take you.

10 minutes become 15 minutes. An hour becomes an hour and a half. Two hours become three. A week becomes a week and a half.

You get it. Worst case scenario: you have extra, stress-free time on your hands.

Try it out. And stop being 3 minutes late to everything.


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