It’s hard to complete projects at home when our lives are so busy. I’ve learned from experience that it is possible. Today I’m sharing my advice to staying motivated and organized to complete projects at home.
A couple weeks ago, B and I took a week off work to spend at the beach house. It’s what we dreamed of doing when we bought it, and I think we both felt so overjoyed to finally see our dreams become our reality.
While there, we did get some projects done on the house, and I can’t wait to show you the reveals. I can honestly say that even though we worked some of our vacation, we both felt so fulfilled by seeing our progress.
Being back home and looking around at all we’ve done by ourselves to this big old house, I’m reminded of all the sacrifices we’ve made to get to where we are today. To be honest, B and I both enjoy construction, designing, building and all that comes with home renovations. It’s still work though, and takes a lot of time. Time that we don’t have a ton of.
That brings me to today’s topic. I get a lot of questions from people about how we find the time to get all these projects done. Just like all of you, B and I work full time and we family responsibilities, so we’ve learned a few things over our 22 years of being together about how to stay motivated, organized and get projects done.
My Best Advice for Staying Organized and Motivated to Get your Projects Done
Start with a Plan
Home projects come in all shapes and sizes from small painting projects to major renovations. Whether you are tackling a small project like painting a room or taking on a much larger one like replacing all the fixtures and finishes in your bathroom, don’t start any project without a plan.
Planning takes a little leg work up front to pick paint colors or set a budget and make your shopping list but taking the time to do this up front means you aren’t starting a project and then have to stop while you figure out details or wait for your special orders to get delivered.
Keep all your Project information in One Place
I’m old school so I used a binder when we started work at the beach house. From keeping receipts to organizing all my tile, paint and fabric samples, a binder allowed me to have everything at my fingertips when I needed it.
If an app or even a program on your laptop or phone makes more sense, then by all means use it. Whatever tool works for you so you can keep all your shopping lists, measurements, paint colors, tile names, delivery dates, etc. organized and together is most important.
Establish a Deadline and Create a Schedule
Ok, so I realize that not all home projects actually have a necessary deadline, but I’ve found that establishing at least some end date keeps me focused and on track with any given project. Maybe you want to update your guest bedroom before holiday guests arrive or maybe you want to get your backyard ready for summer or maybe it’s just sprucing up your bedroom because you want to.
The key here is to be realistic, but set some sort of deadline and then work backwards so you know what needs to happen when.
If possible, set milestone goals.
This doesn’t have to be complicated but one of the surest ways to keep yourself motivated, especially on bigger projects that take a while is to see the fruits of your labor throughout the process. When you begin to see the amazing progress you are making, it makes you want to keep at it and get it done. This is a big one!
B and I had two primary focus projects over vacation; work in the upstairs bathroom and start repairing the front porch. The porch was where we spent most of our time working because it’s where we tend to gather to relax to enjoy the ocean breezes and chat with our neighbors.
Much of the railing and posts were rotten so we knew we were going to have to replace everything between the roof and the floors. Once the old was removed and we started replacing the posts, suddenly the entire look of the house changed. The porch no longer distracted from the overall cuteness of the cottage and we were encouraged to keep pushing.
By mid-week the porch and new pony walls were replaced and even though I hadn’t planned on painting, I spent an afternoon painting all the new board-and-batten siding on the outside and even started painting the front wall of the house inside the porch.
When I saw how this brought out the front of the house, I was encouraged to keep going because I wanted to see more of it. Ok, so we didn’t schedule all this out but it’s a perfect example of how seeing your progress will keep you motivated.
Break your project Down into Smaller Projects
This kind of goes with setting milestone goals, but when planning out your project, if it’s a larger one, try to break it down into smaller chunks so that you can narrow in on just one part at a time.
Making over an entire room? Once you have your plan in place, focus only on painting the room first. Then when that’s all done, focus on just the next step. Like above, seeing progress along the way will help keep you motivated to keep going.
This is what I did in my shop and studio. While I’m honestly having decision paralysis on the details of the main studio space which is delaying things a bit, I broke down the business space into smaller projects to make the overall project more manageable. I started in the office with a complete makeover. The next part will be the work station (once the overall design plan is finalized) then we’ll move on to flooring and paint and building, etc. Treating each step like it’s own mini project makes it easier to focus and keep on track.
Give yourself some Grace
Life happens and we all know that even the most solid game plan goes out the window because something unforeseen happens. Remember that it’s OK.
Even without life getting in the way, motivation is like a roller coaster. Sometimes you feel super ready to tackle your list and then other times you don’t feel like doing anything. Even when you don’t feel like doing a thing, allow yourself some time away and don’t beat yourself up for it.
Finding the time and motivation to improve our homes takes commitment and perseverance. As homeowners know, the list never ends. It’s easy for life to get in the way but it is possible to stay organized and motivated so you get your projects accomplished without a lot of stress and anxiety. The tips I’ve shared are exact things that B and I do to consistently complete projects at our two homes and I’m sure they will work for you!