Stay on Target…

This weekend was the first weekend in over a month that I did not have any house guests. I adore having house guests, especially these house guests (family) but I hate that I had them while my house is in such a mess. I love to entertain and fuss over people but that just isn’t done well when you have to wash dishes in the bathroom and eat out all the time. I’m having a much harder time with the state of the house than I ever thought I would.

Anyway, this weekend was going to be my weekend to get things DONE! I was going to do this and that and clean up here and there, etc. ad nauseum. But in the end, I found that I needed an easy weekend. I really needed to not be super-productive-woman for a few days and recharge.

I find I’m very prone to the opposite of productivity if I get overwhelmed and try to DO ALL THE THINGS in an unreasonable length of time. I seem to operate under the delusion that:

  • There are more than 24 hours in a day
  • My day job doesn’t actually take up much of my time
  • I don’t actually need to rest, sleep, eat, or do anything practical and mundane, like laundry or grocery shop

This is about when I start spinning my wheels, rushing around, working my tail off, and accomplishing absolutely nothing.

I’ve been really frustrated with the snail’s pace of getting my kitchen back together (That is an exaggeration. My kitchen remains unchanged from the day the clean-up crew left so technically, there is no pace.) and I think my frustration is manifesting in my desperate attempt to DO ALL THE THINGS. This weekend gave me a chance to sit back and look at the big picture again.

In an attempt to Project Manage (can I make that a verb?) my life, I gathered the scattered projects and wrote them down so I could see them all together. Then I tried to estimate the percentage I am into it as well as prioritize next steps. I also prioritized the projects overall to try to keep things realistic and allow myself to finish something.

This is an exercise that works really well when I’m stressing myself out and spinning my wheels.

Outdoor Light Replacement (tasks prioritized):

  1. Remove old fixture
  2. Clean up fixture/ceiling area
  3. Install new fixture

90% complete – This does need to be finished as I need a light over the front door and the old one is not going back. I only need to get two tiny screws from the hardware store to finish this one up.

Kitchen Table Makeover:

  1. Sand old finish off
  2. Fill cracks with wood filler
  3. Final sand
  4. Stain table top
  5. Finish coat on table top
  6. Sand base
  7. Prime base
  8. Paint base
  9. Sand chairs
  10. Prime chairs
  11. Paint chairs

5% complete – This will go in the family vacation cabin. Nothing is really dependent on it but I’d like to get the table out of the garage so I have more room for cabinet assembly.

An older picture of the table when it resided temporarily in my dining room.

Hall Makeover:

  1. Clean out the cupboard
  2. Paint the cupboard
  3. Paint the door trim
  4. Paint the doors
  5. Remove two of the three doorbell speakers
  6. Update the single doorbell speaker
  7. Update the light switches

1% complete – This task can wait. It was a nice-to-have and nothing is dependent on its completion

The hallway of DOOM.

For the sake of my sanity, I’m only requiring 2 nights a week be devoted to project work. If I can swing a third, great but I think I’ll even restrict myself from trying to devote all 5 nights to project work. There is just too much regular day-to-day stuff I have to fit in evenings.

I also did a quick review of what I did accomplish this weekend to give myself a reality check on how productive I actually was. This is always a shock because I can convince myself I’ve done nothing when in actuality, I’ve done a lot.

  • Dishes
  • Laundry
  • Stripped finish from kitchen table and filled cracks
  • Visited the grandparents to check in on them and organize Grandpa’s medication for the next two weeks
  • Made a Home Depot run for supplies
  • Read a book (seriously important for my mental energy and creativity)

Things have got to be kept realistic. How many of us either don’t do any work around our homes because the project seems too overwhelming or don’t complete the project to our satisfaction because we try to DO ALL THE THINGS and that just isn’t realistic?

How about you? Do you manage projects like this pretty well? Any tips for those of us who get overwhelmed, spin our wheels and then burn ourselves out?

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One Response to Stay on Target…

  1. Amy says:

    I’m in the process of de-cluttering, and was on the verge of becoming overwhelmed in the home stretch. Your lists helped me realize that even in the home stretch, I can take it one bite at a time.

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