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The Actual Amount of Time it Takes - An Anti-Procrastination Resource

Introduction
I used to delay unloading the dishwasher. I don’t like it. It’s not difficult, there is actually nothing to it, but it is just grinding, putting the same batch of dishes back into the cabinets. The pots were annoying, the tupperware was scrambled, the silverware was annoying. Tomorrow I’ll just have to do it again.

I’d put it off for hours, but I couldn’t forget the task ahead. I truly dreaded it.
Eventually I’d get it unloaded, sometimes it was the last thing I did before I went to bed for the night.

I can’t remember why I decided to time myself unloading it, but I did. Do you know what I learned? It takes 3 minutes and fifteen seconds to unload the dishwasher.

Three minutes! Fifteen seconds!

Why, why, why had I been delaying this? That’s nothing. I had been putting this off? A three minute job? What a waste.

My life has changed. I don’t put off unloading the dishwasher any more.
I know it takes three minutes, fifteen seconds, and if I tackle the dishwasher first, I won’t have an annoying task hanging over my head for the evening.


The Next Step
Knowing how long a task actually takes can be a terrific motivator. So, I made a note of some activities that I dislike and have been timing myself doing them. I want you to know that I didn't race through these activities. This is the time required for these activities at a completely relaxed pace. These are actual, genuine, measured times.

Emptying the Dishwasher
Removing the clean dishes and putting them away in the cabinets and drawers.
Three minutes, 15 seconds

Filling the ice trays with water - 23 seconds



Washing the pans
five dirty pots, pans and baking sheet in the sink
Six minutes, fifty seven seconds.

Making the bed - Unknown

Changing a flat tire at night under streetlamps
17 minutes.
Please note this is faster than waiting for Triple-A road service.

Changing the oil in a Hyundai Elantra
After getting supplies, but including every other step.
39 minutes.

Changing the oil in a Honda Pilot
After getting supplies, but including every other step.
49 minutes

Getting a men's haircut
Obviously depends on how busy the shop is and how many barbers there are. I waited for three minutes to be seated, then another seven minutes of actual hair cutting service once I was in the chair.
Total: 10 minutes, 27 seconds.

Vacuuming out the car at a car wash place
This is somewhat dictated by the length of vacuuming time you get for your quarters. For me, I paid for two cycles at $1 each, totaling 5 minutes and 52 seconds of vacuuming time, plus another minute and forty seconds of preparation and hose hanging.
Total: 7 minutes 32 seconds.

Folding a paper crane
5 minutes, 30 seconds ( I don't dislike doing this)

Doing 20 pushups - 23 seconds

Switching the Laundry
Removing the finished clothes from the dryer and reloading it with wet ones
One minute, 26 seconds

Mowing the lawn - Unknown
Sweeping the sidewalk - Unknown


Adding to this Resource
I would like some help with this procrastination-smashing database. I want to know how long it takes to fold a load of kids clothes, or to pack four lunches, or to shave your legs. I'd love your help collecting times for these activities.

Unfortunately, it is very easy to just guess at the times, which defeats the purpose of this resource. Also, it might be tempting to perform these tasks as quickly as possible, which would similarly defeat the purpose.

BUT, I can't resist the thought of many helpers on a project. Please help.

Many of us carry smart phones which feature a stopwatch function. If you would like to contribute a time for a task, please send a screenshot of this smartphone stopwatch, showing the time required to complete your task.

Email it to Rob at Cockeyed.com.

Thank you! I'm telling you, this is going to be awesome.


Reader Contributions

Sweeping - Three minutes and 15 seconds
I hate sweeping! This time is for a roughly 400 sq foot room with laminate floors. It includes sweeping with a broom as well as with a swiffer style floor pad, and collecting and putting away the tools. - Kat

Replacing the hanging wire on a picture frame - Three minutes, 36 seconds
11x14 frame, done with all manual tools, and hand wrapped wire at a slow, steady pace.  I hate doing this as well. - Kat


Folding a load of children's clothing - 4 minutes, 55 seconds
I just read your article on the time it takes to do stuff and it just so happened it was my turn to folders my daughter's laudry. One basket of clothes for a 2 & 4 year old: 4 minutes 55 seconds. - Joe

Shaving your Legs - 3 minutes, 58 seconds
- Maggie

Mow the Backyard - 32 minutes, 55 seconds
3,500 square feet of grass with four trees, empty the grass bag four times.

Mow the front lawn - 6 minutes, 37 seconds
1,400 square feet of grass with one tree, empty the bag twice.

Make the top bunk of a child's bunk bed - 3 minutes, 37 seconds
from a stripped bed

Renewing your law license - 11 minutes, 22 seconds
I dread renewing my law license .  This year I recieved the forms on June 6 .  The deadline is to have them postmarked by midnight August 31.  I am just finishing them at 4:02 p.m. on August 30, and only because tomorrow is Saturday.  The total time it takes to fill out the forms, write a check, address an envelope, make a copy for my records, add postage and put it all in the mail is 11 minutes and 22 seconds. - Matt

 



    The Oatmeal Markup | Antiques Roadshow - The Ultimate "Neat Stuff" Show | Iphone vs. Kia | Let us Dilute that For You | Razor and Blades Business Model | Short-Circuiting the Facebook Tease Video Link | Other Websites Besides Healthcare.org which are Broken | Visualizing the Price of a Television | Personal account of working for commision at Banker's Life Insurance | The Three Problems with Child Car Seats | How Much Time is Really Left in the Basketball Game? | Who Uses Their Turn Signal? | Other Web Problems not related to Healthcare.org | The Cross-Section of a Couch | Comparing the Price of Used Car to the Price of a New Car | Rental Car Keys are Horrible | The Actual Amount of Time it Takes | Incorrect Shelf Prices at Walmart | Two Prices for Auto Body Repair | Roadside Sobriety Test | Cash in your Pennies | Get it Together Walmart | Price Increases at Fast Food Restaurants | Yard Sale is Shoe Store Scam | Disaster Casualties Visualization Tool | Walmart vs Target: 2013 | The 146 Drugs in Walmart's $4 Prescription Drug Plan | Email Concealer Codes | accumulating credit card debt | Selling a Structured Settlement | The Torn-up Credit Card Application ! Kirby Vacuum Cleaners
Photographic Height/Weight Chart | The Weight of Clothing | The Television Commercial Database
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