Last night my wife said, “Finally a productive weekend, after three years we finally got the living room finished.” I wasn’t sure if that was a dig or what.
We did get a lot done thanks to a three day weekend. We put off all the normal chores until Monday and spend all day Saturday and Sunday, cleaning, sanding and painting the living room.
The week before I put in way more work cutting up the walls to add wires for a new push button high efficiency fireplace and a new 65″ flat panel TV I picked up on sale. Ripping the place apart wasn’t “productive” I guess.
It is funny how we put things off because we don’t feel productive until we finish a task. Have you ever looked at your “to do list” and started doing just the things you knew you could finish? Didn’t it feel good to check all those boxes? Or did you feel like you put off the big thing because you might not have finished it?
One of my early mentors used to misquote Mark Twain and say “Swallow the big frog first”. After years of trying I learned that it is much easier to eat the big frog like an elephant, one bite at a time.
In the case of our living room, there was over a months worth of planning, preparation and finish work. Two subcontractors were involved since I don’t do gas (plumbing) or sheetrock. I’ve tried the sheetrock work and if my plumbing is that bad, my house would burn down. I know my limits.
When we bought the house the only thing in the living / dining rooms we did was the carpet. Everything else was left as it. The drapes were nasty when I took them down finally.
To get the project done I had to break the big items into a shorter list of little items I could get done like:
1. remove drapes
2. cut holes for wires in wall to TV
3. cut holes for electrical to TV
4. drill holes in studs for HDMI and speaker cables
5. drill holes in studs for electrical wire, aka Romex.
6. Pull HDMI and speaker wires from stereo to box for TV
Well you get the idea. By breaking it down into shorter steps, I felt like I could actually make progress on the job. Now it is done and it looks great.
Use this technique next time you catch yourself leaving big items on your “to do list”.