Saturday, October 3, 2009

So You Have a Major Project! Where Do You Start?

Tēnā koutou katoa – Greetings to you all
Major Project
I’m on leave this week. I decided to paint the bathroom. This was no small undertaking for me. Not the painting – the decision!

I’m no great shakes as a painter. I do the job thoroughly though, which is why I won’t get someone in to do it. But I’d rather watch TV.

This is the third time I’ve painted our bathroom in almost as many centuries. So I know what’s involved. But for me, it’s still a major project. Where do I start?

Around the scraping, sanding, swearing, stepladder and pots of paint,
I have to organise the family. That includes one loveable teenage daughter. Bathrooms are it for teenage girls, and we have only one bathroom. The strategy needed to coordinate even a small family around an arguably useful bathroom-being-renovated is a major project in itself.

Pale Sky Blue seems like a good colour for the walls – Oriental Bay, that’s the tint! It’ll match the nearly new shower and window curtains that everyone’s so fond of. We’ll get some new vinyl for the floor – replace the vanity mirror and everything will be hunky-dory.

I’ve forgotten where I put the old paint-roller and tray. Yes, I could really do with some new paint-brushes. There was a hardware sale advertised in the Weekender. Perhaps I should pay the store a visit and have a look. And there was the advert we saw on TV last night. Pity I didn’t take a note of the dates. Maybe there’ll be an ad on TV

So you can see that I have a problem starting a major project!

Where to start?

At home and at work, I’ve had lots of major projects that I’ve deliberated over. One thing has come clear to me over the years. Procrastinating gets me nowhere when it comes to the major project.

So where do I start?

The answer is . . .

With a task like this, postponing the inevitable just runs away with the valuable time I need for scraping, sanding, swearing and messing about with stepladder and pots of paint.

So I get into town and buy the paint. Return home, change, grab the scraper and sandpaper and start preparing the walls.

"What about the family and access they have to the bathroom?" you say. Needs must. They’ll just have to make the best of a bathroom-being-renovated the same as I will.

So that’s it really.

Where do you start a major project? The answer is 'anywhere'. Oh, a bit of planning won’t go amiss. But it’s the same with planning. In fact, for some projects, just the planning becomes a major project. So you have to draft a plan.

Where do you start with that? Anywhere!

It’s the starting that’s the thing.

The weight
on the mind of any major project can be profoundly burdensome. And a project doesn’t really have to be all that big for it to be considered major. Take writing this blog post for instance. I really wasn’t up to writing a post today. I’d just finished nursing my aching back after painting the bathroom ceiling. But where did I start?


I just have to get started, that’s all. Sometimes starting a major project can be as difficult as completing the rest of the project!

Ka kite anō – Catch ya later


Sue Waters said...

Did I mention my hubby was a painter by trade?

Where to start in a bathroom depends on whether there is mildrew and obviously the type of paint finish on the walls.

An unknown fact by most home painters is on normal walls you should put on the first coat of paint before you fill the cracks. This will highlight most of the cracks that need filling :)

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Ya woll. Bin der. Done dat.

Thanks Sue. But first ya gotta scrape off da mildew and da ol' flaky paint.

Thanks for the advice anyway.

Catchya later

Sue Waters said...

Yeah but then you need to treat the mildrew and seal it :) Which you like me to ask him what you need to use?

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Ha ha ha!
That's really cool Sue! You got the same brands in Oz that we have here? Yup! That'll do!

Caffeinated Weka said...

As someone who has a black belt in procrastination, I can assure you that procrastinating achieves plenty for me: the house gets cleaned, washing is folded and put away, emails are sent or responded to, bills are paid, paperwork is filed (unless this is the job I am avoiding starting) ... basically anything which gives me a 'valid' excuse to avoid beginning the mammoth task I'm supposed to be doing instead. However, at the end of the day ... well, perhaps I'll take your advice by starting anywhere and seeing where I end up!

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Nau mai Café Chick!

You made me laugh! Yes I've heard of the benefits of procrastination. When I say 'start anywhere' of course, I mean starting anywhere on the major project. :)

Catchya later

Sue Waters said...

Here you go. You treat the mildew with bleach. Just use some household bleach diluted down with water such as Domestos -- to kill it. You may need to do a couple treatments.

Then you need to seal the ceiling with an oil based sealant. Finally he recommends you paint the ceiling with a semigloss to make is less pervious to water which is what causes the mildrew to grow.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Thanks Sue!

That sounds like good advice. We have a semi-gloss for the ceiling and the walls as it happens so we are on track with that. My wife, Linda, was on to the bleach trick, thanks. That's what she used on the walls. So we're right with that too!

Now to get the rest of the project done :)

Catchya later

The upsycho said...

Having just completed my major project (and yes, it is called exactly that) for my Masters' degree, I can attest to this. The trick is to get started. Otherwise you can get stuck into a loop of preparing which gives you the illusion of making progress while getting you no nearer to you end goal. I struggled hugely with that. Once I actually did get my rear into gear and getting started, I was able to gather momentum and make excellent progress. The tricky bit was overcoming inertia!

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora e Karyn!

It was the same with me when I began writing my thesis. I deliberated for days over the writing and got nothing done till I wrote my first sentence. It ended up in the published copy. And it got the rest started.

Catchya later

Paul C said...

This is a great lesson for students as well. Writer's block can be cured with the writing of that first sentence.....The knob turned slowly on the locked (bathroom) door...

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Well up Paul. Kia ora!

Yes, I too give this advice to my students from time to time. They don't always follow it, but there it is. Some do, and that's nice.

Cathya later

Syclone0044 said...

Good post, I agree completely. When I attack a large project, I always feel compelled to execute it thoroughly and to the best of my ability.

Often the planning that goes into this becomes so overwhelming that I find myself looking for any excuse to avoid starting it.

Cafe Chick on Oct 3rd 2009 was also right on the money!

PS: Hey blog-owner: check it out. I'm violating the perception of not commenting on "old" blog posts! To me, a post is just as valid today as the day it was written (unless it deals with current events etc. obviously.)

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Syclone0044!

Welcome to Middle-earth!

You are not violating any code by commenting on an 'old blog post'. I do it all the time. And I agree, old posts can be just as valid as brand new ones.

You are welcome to comment on any of the posts in this blogspot, no matter how old.

Thanks for dropping by.

Catchya later