For some people it’s leaving empty coffee cups everywhere, never opening the bedroom curtains or leaving their slippers in the middle of the hallway (yes Jan, I’m talking to you) but for me it’s starting projects without actually finishing them. In case you’ve not already guessed, I’m talking about bad habits. I know it’s less than ideal, but the allure of an exciting new (or in our case super messy) project is sometimes just too tempting to resist.
And let’s face it, our house has more than enough projects on our to-do list to get tempted by. After all it’s so easy to start a shiny new project before finishing an old one where the novelty has well and truly worn off.
That’s why our main new home improvement goal is to focus on actually finishing projects before we start new ones and first of all we’re going to try to actually finish what by now feel like a million started jobs around the house.
I’m sure that some of them are going to be quick and easy things to do, others will probably take much longer, but overall I’m hoping that the feeling of accomplishment that comes with ticking something off our list will make any bits and pieces that we do complete worth it.
Last year we challenged ourselves (and you) to a “Get Things Done Challenge” where we tried to give ourselves a much needed push to finish 3 projects in a set timescale.
It was definitely a great way of motivating ourselves and we managed to get a few jobs done that we’ve been putting off for years. So, in a another attempt to get a few already started projects finished, we set ourselves the goal of finishing 5 projects in 5 hours and here they are:
1. Paint Office Door Frame
I’m almost ashamed to admit to this one, but it’s just one job that we never quite finished. We’ve already stripped the old paint (although it needs a bit more sanding) and have even started to some of the painting. We just never got round to finishing it.
2. Finish Stripping & Paint Skirting in Upstairs Hallway
Another one of the jobs that are almost done, but not quite there. Most of the skirting boards are already stripped so all that’s left to do is a bit of sanding and painting.
3. Attach Lock Bed 4 Door
We finished stripping and painting the door frame in our “Get Things Done Challenge”. All that’s left to do is attach a small lock to finish the project completely.
4. Foam Flue in Cellar
When we had the boiler moved at the beginning of last year, our plumber ran out of foam to seal the inner edge around the flue pipe. We said that we’d do it because we had a can lying around. Well, a good 9 months later we still haven’t done it. Ups.
5. Take Down Satellite Dish
This is another bad one. We switched our TV & broadband at the beginning of last year but still haven’t managed to get round to taking down the satellite dish. It’s probably a job that will only take minutes, so it’s definitely about time we get it done.
There you have it, five jobs in five hours. How hard could it be? Well, here’s how we got on:
5:00 – Go!
The first project we make a start on is stripping the last bit of skirting in the upstairs hallway. After a few minutes of stripping gooey paint with the heatgun it’s time to move on to sanding everything. Most of the paint had already been stripped months ago, so it doesn’t take us too long to get this first step done. Next we get out the paintbrush and give everything a first coat of paint.
5:45 – Next up our office door frame
While the first coat of paint in the hallway is drying I move on to sanding the office door frame. Luckily there’s not too much to do (I hate stripping & sanding) and it doesn’t take too long before I can move on to painting this frame, too.
3:05 – Enough of stripping & sanding – We’re foaming!
The next job is a quick one and foaming around the flue only takes a few minutes. We really shouldn’t put these quick little jobs off!
2:50 – Now for the satellite dish
While the first coat of paint on the skirting boards is still drying we move on to taking down the satellite dish. We had tried to do this before, but our ladder isn’t quite long enough so this time we borrow one of our neighbours to be able to reach it. It’s another easy job to do and after about 20 minutes the front of our house looks much better without the ugly dish.
2:30 – It’s time to sort the lock
Attaching the bobble lock is super simple. We had already fitted the actual bobble bit in the door, so all we had to do was fit the corresponding latch piece to the frame. Annoyingly we snapped off one of the screws that came with it, so had to use two different ones to get it firmly attached.
2:00 – Now we’re back to painting
The first coat of paint has dried (we left it overnight and haven’t counted real life drying time) it’s time to get out the sandpaper and give everything a light sand with a fine grit paper (we used 240 grit) this removes any air bubbles and imperfections in the paintwork before we then clean the dust and move on to giving everything another coat of paint. (Sanding is the most important step when painting – don’t ever skip it!).
Amazingly we still have 40 minutes left on the clock but have already managed to finish all of the jobs we set ourselves.
I admit that I’d thought it would take much longer to complete the projects, but I guess that taking the first step and actually starting turned out to be the most difficult part of this 5 project in 5 hours challenge.
I think that we never got round to doing the 5 jobs because they were small. I know that it sounds weird, but it somehow seems easier to tackle one big job than to finish something small and unexciting. By grouping the 5 jobs into one project, it turned them into something more important and made it easier to prioritise them. It’s also a great feeling to be able to tick 5 jobs off our to-do list.
How do you motivate yourself to get things done? Do you also tend to not finish projects that you’ve started? Do you have a bad habit? – We’d love to know it!