That is part of the benefit of PM. But it also gives you an overview of all the sides of doing business and how these ( should) come together to finish a plan or design a product. Hopefully, having a better idea, understanding of the issues involved will help you estimate your time needs more accurately.I haven't read any books on the subject but, and excuse my ignorance if I am incorrect, I imagine the gist of them goes as follows:
1. Break down the larger problem into smaller, more manageable parts.
2. Break down these manageable parts into known and unknown categories. For the knowns, use previous experience to assign some time.
3. For the unknowns, consult external resources or people who may be able to provide further assistance.
4. Repeat until each milestone is completed and the project is eventually done.
Here is the problem with this:
Almost always when I think a project may need more time based on this approach, I am told there is not enough time allotted. So right off the bat, my estimate is reduced to a more aggressive timeline that I feel uncomfortable meeting. With more senior people with more experience, again there are fewer unknowns, so this uncertainty is not as prevalent.
Basically I am always nudged toward the under estimate, on the argument of business and budget requirements, creating much pressure upon me. However, this is not necessarily a bad management approach . There is one guy who is a genius who I work with who can meet any deadline and is truly much faster than me. Of course, being a genius, I wouldn't need to ask these questions. He is the shining star of the team and if there were a way to clone him I'm sure that management could.
I think, again, it just boils down to how good you are, less so than some particular project management techniques. However, I will heed your advice and look for some books to read.