Friday, September 9, 2016

Projects vs Tasks: My Example

My name is Carrie and I procrastinate! Yes, even organized people like me do it. 

I inherited a church pew about two years ago (or was it three?). It came to me mostly stripped of stain. I stored it in our garage at the last house. And it has sat on our screened in porch at our current home. And it still lacks stain or paint, because like I said before, I procrastinate! 

I am determined to get this church pew beautiful again and set up in a prominent place in our home. But it's a project! A big project that is a bit overwhelming to me. Thus again, why I'm pretty sure I have been procrastinating.

I have learned that it helps to break down big projects into smaller tasks. The only way I'm going to get this pew refinished is to break down the steps I need to take and do them one by one until the project is complete. 

Our cat Riley is photo bombing back there!
My first task is to finish stripping the stain. It is mostly complete but there are a few areas to work on. Wouldn't you know I actually purchased stain remover back in March or April. I guess that really may have been the first step! But I'm starting again, so now the first task is to strip the stain. I started this morning and after applying the first coat, I realized I need another product to remove the stripper, or least to clean it up a bit better. 

So the next step is to make a run to the store for the product I need. As I write this, that part has not yet been complete. But I know it is the next step before I can move forward with adding more stain. Oh, and really this post isn't about the pew itself, but the process I'm taking of breaking down a project that seems big and overwhelming into smaller steps. 

I'm actually excited that I took the first step even though I don't yet know exactly how many individual steps or tasks that will make up this project. I got started. I'm doing my project!! I'm even starting before I know the color of paint or type of stain I will use. No sense in putting that decision before the first task of stripping, even if I had decided on a finish for the pew, the first step is still the first step. 

As you evaluate your activities consider whether they are projects or tasks. If you find it is overwhelming it may be that you have come upon a project. And the best way to complete a project is to break it down into smaller tasks. If you say I need to declutter my entire home beware that is a project. That is not something done in a few short hours. You will need to break that decluttering down into much, much smaller tasks in order to make progress. Those smaller tasks will also keep you from getting overwhelmed! And I've found eliminating the feeling of overwhelm can actually allow progress to occur. 

Are you aware of the difference between a project and a task? Do you break down your projects into smaller steps? Have you refinished furniture? I'm needing to decide on stain or paint (and if paint, what kind...chalk?) Hopefully an update on my furniture refinishing project in the next couple weeks! 

1 comment:

  1. Carrie, most of us taking on projects like your 'pew' knowing in advance what we want the finished product to look like. You could have saved yourself so much time, cost and effort using a Chalk paint formula for example. An excellent resource is You Tube where you can follow along each step with an experienced, often professional hand far in advance of any spending, any work. Are you wanting to recreate the pew in it's original form? Who will use it is the place to start as in a congregational setting at least 3 coats of shellac and product experience is required. Personally, I'd slap on undercoat and paint color of choice putting time, effort and money into covering a cut to size foam seat cushion.