One to the most important traits for success is the ability to prioritize and focus on the tasks and projects that matter, and this is not only true in life and business, but also home construction projects.
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For many Do-it-Yourself weekend project homeowners, it is easy to become distracted and lose focus on a planned project. If you have ever started a weekend project, think about the following question, and answer it honestly: how many times have you started one project and the next thing you know you are working on something completely different?
Every construction expert will advise homeowners to plan their projects out to the finest detail, but few talk about staying on task. The ability of a homeowner to stay on task and tackle one project at a time is as important as planning.
There is a web of extra work and costs that will quickly entangle the novice home improvement homeowner.
Here is an example of how projects in the real world grow in scope. You and your spouse decide you want to paint the walls in your bedroom, and with supplies there is an expected cost of $200.
You start the project, and your spouse decides the baseboards are beaten up and the room would sure look better with some ceiling crown moulding. Well, adding the moulding project just increased the project cost another $250, and an additional 2-3 more weekends of work.
Then the unthinkable happens, while painting your bedroom, you spill a gallon of pigmented paint on your new carpet. You hire a cleaning company to remove the paint, or you get a do-it-yourself carpet cleaning solution for a $150, but the stain remains.
Now, you are replacing carpet at another $400 which adds a few more weeks to the project.
In the scenario above, the project went from one weekend to maybe seven and the cost rose from $200 to $1,000 at minimum. This is not farfetched, and scenarios like this happen to homeowners every weekend. There are multiple reasons why homeowners get tangled up in the web of ongoing and expanding home projects.
First, many homeowners have a false sense of confidence in their skillsets, and they honestly believe every project is easy, because they have watched a do-it-yourself program on the home improvement channel where a celebrity completed a similar project with ease.
Homeowners don’t understand their own project and fail to realize, what I call, the construction Yin and Yang. If you do this project, there is a good chance you’ll have to do a related project.
For example, painting a bedroom means you’ll have to caulk, and patch dinged up base moulding which will take time on your hands and knees. So, a decision is made to just replace the moulding failing to understand the hard work of miter cuts, nailing, and caulking.
Then, probably the sneakiest and most diabolical part of any project is the mistake or accident which creates an entirely new project. Let me give you an example of a true story at my daughter’s house.
One Sunday, my daughter asked that I help her hang pictures, and on the very last picture, while putting in an anchor, I hit an electrical wire that the builder left unprotected which blew a breaker and created sparks. I couldn’t just flip the breaker back on.
The electrical outlets no longer worked, and my concern for fire required that I cut the drywall to ensure the line was secured and protected. This one picture created an electrical repair, drywall repair, and repainting of a wall. It was frustrating, time consuming, and very costly.
As you plan your weekend projects, the best advice is to stay focused, plan, and prioritize what you are doing, but most importantly, do one project at a time and expect the unexpected.
Mistakes, accidents, and errors will be made, and by the way, keep your vehicle filled with gas because you will probably be making multiple trips to your local home improvement store.
If you are on tight budget, don’t start any project until you have the means to cover unexpected costs.
Don Magruder is the CEO of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc., and he is also the host of the “Around the House” Show which can be seen at AroundtheHouse.TV.