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Saravanan B

Are you a victim of planning fallacy? Here's why

Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky proposed the concept of planning fallacy in 1979. 

"Planning fallacy is the tendency to underestimate how long it shall take to complete a task."

As human beings, we are prone to planning fallacy frequently. Let me start with an anecdote. A month ago, all the students of BSc Psychology were preparing for their semester exams. Physiological Psychology was our next exam. We have five lessons to study. After knowing we have 5 days to prepare for this exam, it made us to procrastinate our study plans to the next day. Until the last minute, we never knew that our assumption on completing all the 5 units in two days has failed. Congratulations, we are a victim of the called "Planning Fallacy."

A students' assumption about completing all the assignments in a short period of time is prone to planning fallacy. 

My friend has a target to organize and complete 4 training programs in a span of five months to get him a "District Trainer Designation" in Rotaract organization. His thought of completing all the four training programs in a month has been a disaster. He struggles to complete a training at the last minute. 

Every now and then, we are over optimistic about predicting the time it shall take to complete all the tasks at hand. Almost, our thinking is flawed and our planning fails ultimately. We tend to estimate the time it shall take to complete a task based on our previous experiences. 

One way to get rid of planning fallacy is to 'segment' tasks into sub tasks so that planning fallacy may be lowered. For example: Instead of learning 100 vocabularies in a week, 14 vocabularies per week is measurable. By using this method, planning fallacy may be reduced to a greater extent. Moreover, our decision making improves.

Another way to eliminate planning fallacy is to consult an expert about the time it shall take to complete a task before starting an unfamiliar task.  By this way, we shall avoid underestimating the time it shall take our completing a new task. 

So the next time before starting a new task, think and plan accurately. Don't underestimate the time it shall take to complete a task.

Share your stories in instances where your planning has failed to complete a certain task.

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