Hofstadter’s law states that things always take longer than you expect, that even if you know it will overrun, it will overrun your estimated due time too. We are either too confident about our abilities or perhaps just optimistic about circumstances that things will get done in a shorter period of time. In time, we then commit the planning fallacy, the mistake we make when we “conveniently” forget that reality dictates that a task takes actually a longer period of time to be completed, factoring in other details that may affect its accomplishment. For example, I know for a fact that I find it easy to compose my thoughts and comprehend reading materials, so finishing my dissertation shouldn’t take that long a time. Unfortunately, the method by which I need to gather my data relies on the availability of other people, which, unfortunately is costing me more time an effort than I had imagined, thereby pushing my due date farther than what I planned it out to be.
If in even the most calculating task, such as programming, Hofstadter’s law seems to take effect, what more the complicated things such as finding your soulmate, or settling down and getting married? This is where the advice of most psychologists come in handy, regarding the planning fallacy, avoid planning altogether when possible and just deal with it. Shit happens all the time anyways, but Murphy’s law is another topic that requires a new post.