Be prepared, make a plan, get it done!

One of the biggest mistakes we make when we are completing any task is to begin before we have properly thought through the process.  How many times have you begun a task only to realise that you were missing one key piece of equipment, ingredient or information necessary to complete it?  In short, you were just not prepared.  We may feel that it is a waste to spend time in the preparation phase but a few minutes spent at the beginning can save an enormous amount of time overall.

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There’s nothing worse than being halfway through a project and having to stop, get in the car, drive down to the shop and buy a key item that we are missing.  Not only is the whole process annoying and time consuming, it also affects our momentum.

Recently my daughter and I decided to repaint her bedroom.  We chose a day when we had nothing else planned, made sure we had all of the necessary equipment and got stuck into the task.  We had a pretty good system going, she did the cutting in and I did the rolling.  We listened to music, chatted and had a really great time.  The whole thing was done in a relatively short time.  Now painting is not something that I particularly enjoy.  I have done it many times before and frankly, I really would rather be doing something else.  It was a novelty for my daughter so she didn’t have the same feelings about it.  I know for myself though that when I become motivated to complete something, I have to get started straight away or else the feeling will pass.  Once we started we developed a momentum that kept us going until the end.  We didn’t stop for a snack, we didn’t stop for a rest and we certainly didn’t stop to go and buy another paintbrush.  We used the momentum we had developed to get us to the finish line.

Too many times I have seen projects begun that have languished unfinished for a very long period of time.  I know that I have done it myself, my children and husband have done it and I have watched friends do it.  I firmly believe that a great part of the reason for this is that there wasn’t a plan made before the task was begun, there was no completion deadline set and not all of the equipment was ready.  It’s is so easy to lose motivation and much harder to develop momentum for a project when we haven’t removed all of the obstacles before we begin.

There are a couple of simple steps we can take which will make completing a project on time much more likely.

1) Work out exactly what it is you wish to achieve. 

In my daughter’s bedroom makeover we wanted to paint the room white so that we had a blank canvas to put a new bedroom set in and new curtains.

2) Decide how long you will give yourself to get it done. 

With all of the contents of her room in the family room we had an extra motivation to finish the work as quickly as possible.  We gave ourselves the weekend to get it done.

3) Organise all of the equipment you will need. 

We made sure that we had the paint, paint tray, cutting in brush, roller, drop sheets, ladder, old clothes, iPod and water bottle all ready before we began.

4) Make a plan to avoid distracting influences. 

Since the task could be completed in a couple of blocks of time over the weekend we knew that there would be time when we had no-one coming over, nowhere we had to be, and nothing we would need to buy.

These 4 steps can be used whether you are decluttering a corner of the lounge room, building a patio, cooking dinner or completing your tax return.

Before you begin your next task, be sure to spend a little bit of time thinking it through and I guarantee you will be pleased that you did.

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