My parents bought a 100+ year-old Victorian house when I was an infant. The house needed serious attention. It was a classic fixer-upper. The ceilings had wallpaper hanging from a thread. The walls had so many layers of wallpaper that it was a lesson in period style. Not to mention the porch turned kitchen and rotten planks on the wraparound porch.
It was an overwhelming project to tackle, but my parents have always been very industrious. My mom stumbled upon an article in Reader’s Digest suggesting you could tackle any feat if you worked on it without interruption for 15 minutes every day. She took that as a challenge. She began gathering her supplies: paintbrushes, paint, dropcloth, ladder, and rags. Each day as I napped, she disciplined herself to work for 15 minutes. She set a timer and got to it! Some days she would paint only 15 minutes, and other days once she began she lost track of time and kept going. It took her a couple of weeks, but she used the tactic to paint the dining room with its 14 feet ceilings, unbelievable crown molding, and gorgeous stained glass windows. Lots of cutting in for you painters out there!
Do you have a project you want to complete but cannot seem to find the time? It’s not like it’s something you don’t want to do. Afterall, you are a DIYer! This is your sweet spot. There are two principles will make this strategy a success.
// Eliminate Distractions//
There was no Instagram in 1977. Nor were there cell phones. Nor did my parents have money to spend on cable television. What? Before the internet? Yep, it’s true. There was life before the WWW.
Enjoy yourself, stay in the moment. It is a good practice even if you are not working on a project! Believe me…this is where I struggle. I sometimes begin creating a product and think I need to Google some inspiration. An hour later I’m trapped in the interwebs and my project is at a standstill. We all fall prey to instant gratification. Just reserve it for time you decide. Set aside time every week for that purpose. You will enjoy web-surfing more when you give yourself permission!
//Make the plan. Work the plan//
Be accountable to yourself…it’s only 15 minutes. Schedule your plan. Stick to it. No matter what.
I read once that humans are incapable of motivating themselves. It is a matter of just doing it…or not. Thank you, Nike. That was the answer all along. Except that it is really difficult to keep a new habit going day in and day out.
Jerry Seinfeld has been credited with an ingenious but simple system of implementing a new routine. He hung a wall calendar and placed a big red “X” in every day he met his writing goal. After a few weeks, he was staring at an unbroken chain of “X”’s. Not unlike the chore charts we have used before with our children, seeing the progress you have made seems to propel you forward.
The little tasks grow exponentially when stacked together. According to the advice offered by Seinfield, your only task becomes not breaking the chain. You can use this method for any large project…DIY or otherwise. Try it when learning a new language, adopting a healthier lifestyle, or building your next business.
Are you pumped? Get going! Download your habit tracker below. Then tell me in the comments below…what project will you attack using this method?
*Don’t you just love this idea for completing projects? I am so excited to incorporate this into my life and make some progress! Thank you Sarah! Make sure you check out her amazing site, Printable Charm!