For those of you who don’t know, I have a small problem with compulsively starting DIY projects. As far as vices go, it’s right up there with my love of handcrafted wheat beers and buying every power tool I see. So, not as bad as say, doing meth, but also not conducive being organized and getting things done.
In order to combat this, I created the 5 Project Rule, which basically means I can only have five projects “in the works” at any given time, and before I start a new one I’ve got to be able to check one off that list. Five might be too many for other people, but it allows me to have multiple types of projects going on and, let’s be honest, indulges my ADD. It has actually been a great motivational tool for me, and I think I might be able to modify it for some of my lifestyle projects as well.
For my power tool projects I don’t include long terms goals on the 5 Projects List like “move out of the garage” or “build a house”. One would hope some of my five projects would support those long term goals, but the truth is I don’t like to over-compartmentalize things that way… if I feel the need to go on a furniture-building binge and the whole “framing in a house” thing needs to wait, so be it.
I haven’t defined my long-term lifestyle goals yet, but I know they’re out there floating around in the ether somewhere. For now I’m just going to try and get a handle on the short-term life-related projects I take on. Like this:
- Set up a workspace/paperwork area – I was planning to use my “narnia” spare bedroom for this, but the space contains only one non-functioning power outlet that no amount of wire-jiggling and flipping breaker switches could bring back to life. Which means I’ve set up shop on the living room floor, where the cat has proceeded to shred at least two utility bills in the last week.
- Create an “I don’t have time to exercise” exercise plan – In the last few months I’ve been carving out time to exercise (in ways other than hauling 2×4′s around, no less) but there hasn’t been any rhyme or reason to the what, when, or how. Sometimes I do 5 minute morning workouts a-la the 4-Hour Body, sometimes I do 15 minute bodyrockers workouts before bed, sometimes I do an hour and a half of hot yoga. Love it all, just need to have some structure and goals for the whole thing.
- Figure out how to store new recipes – Six months ago I started doing six small 150-200 calorie meals per day, and I’ve actually come up with some great new recipes, which are currently stored in the notes section of my iphone. There’s got to be a better way.
- Take control of the inboxes – I feel like there’s always part of my brain that is buried under the oppressive weight of my email– personal email, work email, website email– and I use different email systems for all of them.
- Purge, part 2 – When I moved from Memorial to the new rental house I did a good job of purging some of the crap I’d been hauling around with me from house to house for years, but I still ended up with a spare bedroom full of boxes. I have a feeling I can do even better, so another round of goodwill donations is on the horizon.
So that’s the list… the first five of my DIY lifestyle projects, which I intend to tackle the same way I tackle power tool projects – by diving in headfirst. (And also making good use of Google.) If you’ve got any tips, advice, or things that have worked for you relating to any of these lifestyle projects, I’d love to hear it.