Two signs were stuck to the wall above my Dad’s desk at the family photography studio.
One said: "The hurrier I go, the behinder I get". The other said…These signs not only reveal my Dad’s sense of humour, but added together, they sum up his influence on my philosophy of life and work.
Whether by nature or nurture, I’m a procrastinator. To put a more positive spin on what some might consider to be a character flaw, I prefer to think of myself as someone with the patience to plan.
Planning is a critical component for any successful DIY project – large or small.
Without a plan, projects usually cause more disruption, cost more money, or possibly turn into "the project from hell". At the very least, what was supposed to be an enjoyable process turns into a chore that you’ll slog through, with the downgraded goal of it "ending", and living with the resulting compromises.
Where’s the fun in that?
Advance planning tips for a rewarding DIY project:
- The time to work out your Plan (and your Plan B) is before you start tearing things apart.
- Work out a budget – include materials, tools and equipment, and sub-contractors fees – and allow for 15% cost over-run contingency.
- Visualize the whole process and write down the logical progression of tasks from demolition through completion.
- Try to anticipate potential detours that might require a fast re-design or result in scheduling delays… (this is where having a Plan B comes in.)
- Be realistic about what you can do yourself with your available time and within your skill-level. Sub-contract the other aspects to the pros.
The Bottom Line
When you rush into the project that you’re so enthusiastic about right now without a plan, it’s less likely to live up to your expectations – both as a DIY learning experience and in the results you’ll have to live with.
Stonehaven Life will explore these planning elements in more depth in the future, along with useful planning and management tools available to make your DIY life more enjoyable.
By the way, the sign that graces the wall above my desk is a birthday present made for me by my partner many years ago. It continues to keep me calm whenever I’m asked to help solve some "crisis" that should never have been one in the first place.
The sign says:
"The lack of planning on your part …
does NOT constitute an emergency on my part".