About Putting Things Off…and Getting Over the Hump

We're in our final stretch of Home Hack projects here, and we spent a good part of Friday and Saturday neck deep in our last project. It's one of those DIY affairs which require planning, taping, lots of cleaning, and a whole lot of waiting around for things to properly dry. We've hit the dreaded wall that all DIY/home improvement folks run into: the procrastination phase.

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Just ten bazillion more to go...

The animated short above, ironically created by the king of all procrastinators, a design student, (Johnny Kelly) totally struck a nerve with us and our own battle with putting things off. We've colour coordinated our library and rearranged furniture too many times to mention (alongside vacuuming or cleaning our shoe soles), all to avoid getting back into the saddle of finishing a project which faded from the initial excitement of a project born of great hopes and an idealist's vision into the itchy reality of a project which requires one too many hours spent hunched over laying on the bathroom floor carefully applying multiple coats of this or peeling away that. Projects which require multiple coats with long drying periods measured in several hours or even days are especially prone to bring on the malaise of DIYer's Procrastination Onset Syndrome (P.O.S., not to be mistaken with a similar acronym, but with occasional overlap depending outcome of our project).

So what to do? For these multi-day projects, breaking up the tasks into realistic chunks with a specific deadline is often the best answer to avoid the doldrums. You'll have to trudge through some moments, but setting specific and realistic goals per day breaks up the monotony of a project into manageable steps, instead of a daunting overall looming project.

In our case, that means walking away from the project inbetween each step after just a couple of hours of working on it, instead of trying to pile them all one after another with impatience, which led to our initial burnout after back-to-back 5 hour sessions prepping and then painting. We've created a schedule which gives us flexibility to do other things while making solid progress with a solid deadline if all steps are met. We also inserted the incentive of mini soy ice cream sandwiches as a reward after completion of each step, but this is optional, though highly recommended.

Feel free to share your favourite procrastination activities below.