Feeling overworked and overstressed, underpaid and undervalued?

Before you start a big project, it’s important to estimate the cost and the time you’ll need. The problem is, most of us are terrible at estimating. We think the project will be quick and easy. We simply can’t imagine unexpected problems. But in fact, things always take longer and cost more than we expect. In other words, we almost always underestimate the time and the cost. We also overestimate our own abilities — we think we’re better than we really are.

“Overestimate” and “underestimate” are two of the most useful words with the prefixes “over-“ (“more than normal”) and “under-“ (“less than normal”).

“Over-“ and “under-“ are extremely useful in the world of work. After all, don’t we all feel overworked and overstressed? At the same time, many of us think we’re underpaid and undervalued, especially when we look at our overpaid and underworked bosses.

When we buy things in a store, we get angry when the store tries to overcharge us — when they ask us to pay more than “the right amount.” But it’s even worse when we’re in the opposite situation: when we undercharge our customers by mistake, we’re basically giving them our money for nothing.

Similarly, after planning a budget for a project, it’s never a good idea to overspend, because your boss won’t be happy with you. But underspending often feels worse, because you didn’t spend all the money that was available in the budget.

When we’re trying to get new customers, it’s very easy to overpromise — to promise to do everything perfectly, quickly, and cheaply. But this usually means we under-deliver — we fail to do what we promised. It’s much better if we under-promise at the planning stage. That way, our customers will be amazed when we over-deliver on our promises at the end.

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Originally published at www.GetNewsmart.com