Do you have a big home project in mind? Have you been wanting to do it for some time but don’t know how to begin? You’re not alone.
Many of us have a lot of big projects that center around the home. We could want to build a new garden, declutter our garage, or completely organize our home. Whatever it is, it’s one step to have the idea in mind, it’s another to actually start it.
Today, I want to walk you through the main steps you need to take to tackle any big home project. These steps can also be applied to work projects and any school projects your kids might have. Whatever you want to accomplish, these steps will help you achieve them.
1. Make a plan
The first and by far the most important step to take when tackling a big project is to make a plan. This is when you’ll figure out a deadline and all the steps you need to take to complete it on time.
Let’s continue to use a major home organization as an example of this. Get yourself a cup of coffee or drink of choice, a notebook, pen, and take a sit somewhere. Preferably where you won’t be interrupted. You want to focus on this part.
Now, ask yourself: When do I want to get this done? A plan without a deadline will never get done. This is a fact. Deadlines not only motivate us to work, but they hold us accountable. Ask any productive person and they’ll tell you they always give themselves deadlines.
Once you have a deadline in mind, write it down. Circle it. Highlight it. Make that date the most important date on your calendar.
Be sure to take into account any previously scheduled events you have. Don’t schedule a big project when you have a lot going on. Find a few weeks or months where you have one or two scheduled events. The last thing you want to do is spread yourself too thin.
Now, using some reverse engineering, figure out what you need to do each week in order to make progress. If you’ve given yourself a deadline of three months, what do you need to get done each day and/or week? Perhaps you want to clean a room a week. Or have three rooms done by the end of one month?
Break your entire house down into rooms. How many do you have and how can you get them all done in the time you’ve given yourself?
Image Courtesy of Quapaw Area Council
2. Schedule time to do it
Once the plan is in place, you need to schedule time in your day to work on these tasks. This is where you’re going to hear that nagging voice telling you, “But you don’t have time.” You help your kids with homework. You have to go grocery shopping and meal prep. There's work and other chores. How could you possibly schedule time in your day to do a little organizing?
Simple: you learn to sacrifice. All major life projects include a little sacrifice. And by sacrifice, I mean giving up those time-sucking activities we all do. Watching TV, scrolling through your phone, ignoring the pile of dishes in the sink.
Yes, you’ve had a busy day, and scrolling through social media is how you relax. But it’s those fifteen to forty minutes that you can get so much done. Instead of sitting on the couch and channel surfing, look at the plan you made. You said you wanted to get a room done each week. This is where you can start.
Take that TV or social media scrolling time and work a little in whatever room you want to get done that week. Is it more work? Yes. But imagine relaxing in an organized home as opposed to a messy one?
Too often we get used to our surroundings that we shrug and say, “Oh, well.” But the visual clutter still works behind the scenes. It continues to make you anxious and stressed. Why live in a perpetual state of unrest when a few minutes of cleaning and organizing each day can change that?
So, find thirty minutes to an hour each day and dedicate it to cleaning and organizing. Remember you only have to do this until the project is done.
3. Track your progress
One of the best ways to see how far along you’re coming in a major project is to track your progress. You can do this in a variety of ways.
You can create a fun graphic on your computer or by hand. Let’s take your bedroom for example. Your bedroom itself can be represented by a long vertical bar. You can then break that bar up into smaller squares. Consider your bedroom. Each square can represent a section of your room.
For example, you can have the following sections in your bedroom:
Closet (If you have more than one closet, make one square per closet.)
Bed frame and nightstands
Dressers and armoires
And so on. Create as many squares as you need. As you finish each section, color that square in. Put the progress tracker somewhere you’ll see it every day. This way when you look at it, you’ll see how far you’ve come since making the initial plan.
Tracking your progress has been proven to be a motivator in and of itself. You see how far you’ve come, you feel good, and you want to keep going.
4. Allow for setbacks
We all know how unpredictable life is. We can’t control what happens. With that in mind understand that during big projects you’re going to have setbacks.
What does that mean? It means you can have a week or two where you don’t complete a room. Work could’ve been busy. Your kids had too many after-school activities. You got sick or you needed to take care of a sick family member. The possibilities are endless.
When you have a bad week and you don’t update your progress tracker as much as you’ve been doing, don’t beat yourself up. Accept that life is going to throw you curveballs. Accept the bad week and move on to the next. Don’t think you need to work twice as hard to catch up. This is why you plan.
When planning, consider adding an extra week or two to your deadline for setbacks. This way it doesn’t feel like you’re falling behind. Shake off any bad days or weeks you may have and keep moving forward.
5. Reward yourself
After making a plan, this step is perhaps the second most important one. Remember when you were a kid and you couldn’t wait to show your parents the sticker you got for being a good listener? Or the A paper you worked your butt off on? Rewards are amazing. They make you feel amazing.
Rewards shouldn’t stop just because you’re an adult. A promotion is an award. A raise is a reward. Sure, those are job-related, but you can create home rewards for yourself too.
What’s something you’ve really wanted? Don’t think about the price tag. Write down two to three things you’ve been itching to get. Now, write underneath those items, “I will treat myself to one of these after I complete a month of organizing.” Or treat yourself once you’ve completed the whole thing.
Courtesy Image of Wikipedia Courtesy Image of Allrecipes
It’s important to reward yourself for the little victories as well as the big ones. Save the big purchase for when you complete the whole project. But between then, treat yourself to some other things after you finish a week or a month. Make these rewards personal and not too over the top. Perhaps you’ll treat yourself to a mani-pedi or a massage one month.
Whatever your reward system, make sure to implement it. It’s another great motivator to keep you going.
If tackling a big project like a major home organization feels overwhelming to you, don’t panic. Simply check out my services and book me online today. I love nothing more than helping my clients ease through the organization process. And if you want to see more of my work, follow me on Facebook.