I work as a sole developer on a continuous stream of web projects. The issue I seem to have run into is that, though similar in style, each project requires a different amount of time to complete. They are SO similar however that I can't get a feel for the length of time necessary until I actually dive into the project. Meanwhile the same similarity makes it seem like a cakewalk to someone who isn't developing the system, for instance, my overhead sponsors/manager. In a tale as old as time they aren't involved heavily in tech and don't have a handle on the nuances of development. Not that this is their fault. People have different passions and inclinations, and I understand that, but to be honest I'm getting to the point where I'm occasionally muttering to myself "this isn't magic, you know."
This has lead to me working a great amount of overtime to keep up with deadlines, and in fact I've worked OT every day and still only managed to get a single day off a week if I was lucky.
The problem, I think, is that I was made to ball park a dead line before I had a chance to take a look at the project thoroughly. Normally I would say "well, let me take a look and I'll get back to you" - but unfortunately with the nature of my work that would mean I wouldn't really have an idea of a completion date until I'm about 30-40% through due to the functionality I have to create. But no manager would be willing to hear that. This means that I guess based on the last project that was completed and how similar the new project is comparatively.
Additionally, I'm dong all the graphic work, of which there is extensive amounts. This is part of development, and I understand that, but it's something that I can't seem to convey as being time consuming work. I am very quick with my graphic work and I'm proficient at it, but it still takes time, and as an example this last project had me changing hues, color exchanging and cropping/adding sections to over 1000 images as well as coding new functionality.
I'm basically burning out, but I have no idea how to approach my managerial staff respectfully and without explaining for an incredibly boring length of time the technical intricacies of why that is.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.