Thursday, November 25, 2010

Not all flower arranging and luncheon parties

In glossy country house magazines people perch on the edge of their fountains looking completely relaxed in their pricey gumboots. The photographs never show someone with gritted teeth making a third call to the pump installation man to inquire why the pump was not installed last Tuesday. Or someone riddled with PMT digging up 50 thistles in the paddock by hand.

So, lest I give the impression that developing a run-down cottage on six acres is all flower arranging and luncheon parties, it's time to talk about my project list. Here it is:
Cut and remove fallen tree in field, windbreak for orchard, new water tanks, clear and develop dam/lake, new driveway, landscape and plant front of house, remove trees from orchard area, plant orchard, remove trees in front boundary, plant front boundary, clear, landscape and plant bed behind deck, clear level two trees and plant, trim and remove trees obscuring view, prune Blue Gum, architect plans for deck and house, swales to direct water to lake, new vegetable garden, build BBQ and pizza oven, insulate house, get dock in the paddocks under control, new front fence and gates, new washing line, get creeping grass under control, new woodshed, paint house inside and out, install irrigation, weed and reshape front driveway bed, install gutter guards, install range hood in kitchen, finish herb garden, new compost bins, split pile of wood by the shed, get aerials checked, remove old tin and posts on third level, get roller door remote fixed, get scrap metal taken to recyclers, dismantle old vegetable patch, finish boundary bed.
Calming scented candles help project overload
I've posted about how overwhelmed I felt when I first bought the house. I know it's a 20 year project, but at the beginning, the sheer scale of what needed to be done swamped my brain. Each individual item on the list above is a major project in itself.  This year I instituted a three-project at a time rule and it has worked amazingly well. Instead of spreading my physical and mental effort across multiple projects, I now restrict myself to three.  Nothing new goes on the list until something comes off. Only small one-off tasks can be done outside of the list. It works I think because I make progress more quickly, which gives me more momentum to finish things.  It also limits the number of to-dos cluttering my brain.

Now that I've figured out how to do photo slideshows, I'll post about my three current projects soon.


Peta said...

Was the three things at a time an O'Brien concept? This pearl of wisdom was shared with me at work and I find it works a charm to get through any list that looks scary! BTW love the Best of AT&C images and especially love image 2, think it should be a feature.

Suzanne said...

I don't remember but perhaps I picked the three project rule up from O'Brien by osmosis? It definitely works really well.