Is the success of a project determined solely by the end results? If so then I could call my Family Room project a success. But I don’t view it as one.
You can see the video of my Family Room project on my YouTube channel.
Adopting some of the principles from work of doing a review at the end of a project, here are my lessons learned
- Prevention is better than cure. Obviously, it’s better not to let rooms get into a huge state in the first place. The bigger the task, the more overwhelming it can be to tackle.
- Find an incentive which will make you tackle the project. And for this I don’t necessarily mean a reward or sanction. For me, I am incentivised by deadlines, particularly if they’re externally imposed. I will procrastinate forever but tell me I have to achieve something by a set date and I am on it.
- A key lesson for me is being clear about the goal/objective. I set my goal as having an organised, functional and aesthetically pleasing room for my family. But that’s actually a vague overarching goal for my home. In this particular situation I had a short term goal which was to declutter the room before the floor was going to be replaced. The reality was I didn’t need to have anything organised before the floor was done, I just needed the space cleared. Decluttering should have been my priority at that stage and I was wasting time worrying about how everything was going to work after the new floor was in.
- From that lesson comes the obvious lesson, which I often forget, decluttering is not the same as organising. Decluttering can be a very quick task with immediate results. A very simple system of Prepare/Sort/Purge is enough for the decluttering process. If you can get your “sort” categories right then the later organisational stage could be made easier but it’s not essential. A room can stay decluttered forever but the organisation may need to be reviewed and redone on a regular basis (depending on how static your life is). I think lack of organisation can lead to clutter but decluttering in and of itself will not lead to organisation.
- When you do come to the organisation stage make sure you know the function of the room. This function can be for a limited time. Our room was originally a playroom so it housed all the children’s toys. I knew I wanted to create a craft area in the room but I hadn’t fully thought through what this meant or how it could work. I’ve ended up doing it piecemeal and the set-up shown in my video has already changed.
- Again, following from lesson 5, decide what’s good enough, and stop. I am far from a perfectionist but I do need to feel I’ve come to a conclusion. Since I didn’t have the proper end point in mind I am constantly tweaking the Family Room. This is having a knock-on effect on me completing other projects because I feel I have an unfinished project that still needs work.
- Finally, plan properly from the beginning. I didn’t plan this project at all. I said I did but in reality I’d made lots of notes about what the room was like, what was available and what I hoped for, I brainstormed ideas but I didn’t actually set a plan of action. Some wise person once said something like “he who fails to plan is planning to fail”.
There is a caveat to point 7 and that is, if your project or task is simply decluttering – just do it. Don’t waste time planning. If necessary, do that before the Purge stage. You can create categories while you’re in the Sort stage because you’ll instinctively group items together in a way that makes sense for you. Some people advocate a daily 15 minute declutter. Sounds like a good habit to cultivate.