Well, first of all, everything doesn't take so long. It's just that we're hopelessly optimistic about how long they will take. It may be necessary, otherwise we'd get discouraged. Don't worry about it, after all you don't want yet another reason not to start things... Link.
Then, there's the hidden work. Often the emotional work. Set Godin has a great post on this, at this link, where he points out that the physical labour component of most work is very slight - it is creation, collaboration and planning costs - all underpinned by the need to persuade.