Step 1: Visualize your project
What are you hoping to achieve? What will the end result look like? Do you have the skills/tools/time necessary? Will you need assistance?
When we take on a project, we always evaluate the time commitment. Often our projects play out over a period of weeks and months, during which the rest of our life will attempt to function as normal. BEFORE you start, make sure you are able to set aside the time necessary to see your project through to completion. We often plan projects a year in advance, in order to take advantage of a season or circumstance that will enhance our outcome.
Step 2: Prepare a Budget
In budgeting for a project, be flexible. If you will be purchasing the raw material or hiring out labor, get an estimate ahead of time. It pays to shop around for best prices. Also, look online for deals. In a kitchen remodel, scan Craigslist well ahead and watch for contractors who are doing tearouts and are selling good condition cabinets for cheap! Often times you can find brand new windows and doors very reasonably priced. If you have something to trade, you might be able to barter for your materials or labor. Work out a cost for your project and then add 25-50% for “unforeseen circumstances”. Trust me on this.
Step 3: Make Lists
I am big on lists, short on memory. I always start a project notebook where I keep track of everything. Often times as our project evolves, new ideas and information come to light and quick action is required to keep the project on track. I write it all down. Big things to remember: Do you need a permit or licensed professional to complete your project? If so, who do you need to contact? What is their number? When do you need to call them to schedule the work? Write it down. What are the dimensions of your project? Write it down. Do you have color samples? Pictures? Keep these in your notebook. Save yourself the trouble of making multiple trips by not having the information available at the time you need it. Keep track of your project in your notebook and keep the notebook with you. Make’s life so much easier.
Step 4: Go Shopping
Don’t go crazy here! You don’t need to buy everything on Day 1! Break your project down into phases. Each phase might be a week or two of work. Think it through. How long will demo take? How much time to prep? How long to paint? How long to install a door, etc. Don't forget to make time for cleanup. Once you have an idea of how much will be accomplished in your “phase” purchase the material you’ll need. Also, realize that shopping takes time. And energy! If you are planning to work your project on the weekend, don’t leave the shopping until Saturday morning! Set aside a couple of nights during the week to stage your material and hit the ground running come Saturday! But hey, if your project is painting, don’t waste Friday night. Get out your painters tape and spend a couple hours prepping. You’ll be so glad you did!
Every couple of weeks repeat the process: plan your phase and shop. Plan and shop. Keep your receipts all together so that as you are shopping for new material you can return items that you didn’t need. Keep this up for the whole project.
Step 5: Get Started!
Actually starting your project is Step 5! Did you know that? This is why planning is necessary. Jumping into a large project without a plan is a good way to give yourself a bad headache. It’ll cost you more (time and money), you’ll be more stressed, and you might not even be happy with the result.
Once you start the project, be committed! This isn’t the time to plan a vacation or host out of town guests. Don’t let yourself get distracted. You will have plenty of time to play later, and if you’ve planned correctly, you won’t really be missing out on the important things. Your new job is your project and your project needs you! Stick with it and you’ll soon see how rewarding this process can be!
Tune in for more projects and general mayhem at www.facebook.com/thepocketfarmer. Hope to see you there!