3 Best Times to Begin a Project

Ever wonder when would be the best time to begin a new project?

The Best Time!I do that from time to time.

And when we spend a great deal of time deciding when to begin, we are wasting time.

Wouldn’t it help to have a plan for when to begin a project?

Yes it would.

We often do not realize there are three basic types of projects, each with a sensible set of parameters that nearly dictate how to decide when to begin.

First, there is the long-term, self-started, easily interrupted project.

Crocheting an afghan for that wedding scheduled for next spring? Yes, you could begin it any day. It’s so far away, when you begin is not very important.

The best time to begin, if you really want to accomplish this project, is now.

Today. As soon as you finish reading this post.

Realize that beginning such a project includes, first, scheduling its progress. Scheduling means counting the units of the project such as skeins of yarn, and comparing to the time left, such as six months. Does the afghan include 12 skeins of yarn? Then you must complete two skeins every month, one-half skein every week.

Scheduling such a huge project this way accomplishes three objectives:

  • You will realize you must begin soon.
  • You will see how easy it will be to finish on time.
  • You will know, immediately, when you need to stay up past bedtime or work while talking on the phone, thus avoiding putting it all off until it’s too late.

Second, the Help You Promised to Provide

Get roped into making cookies for the next event at church? Promised to present a workshop at the ladies’ retreat? Someone counting on you to . . .

. . . It doesn’t really matter what we place in the blank, here, you have given your word you will do this thing. On time.

Guess when the best time is, to begin.

Now.

Immediately.

This is a matter nearly of life/death importance: It is your word. At least you can find the recipe and make sure you have all the ingredients. At least you can make an outline of the points you hope to present in the workshop, or a list of the visual aids you will need.

When I promise to bring something to somewhere, I often place that thing in my purse or in my car, immediately, before I forget. Then it’s done. If I arrive at the appointed place, it will be there with me. If I am not home when I give my word, I record a note to myself in my “palm pilot”. These notes MUST be dealt with before my next shampoo, or they will be erased. I know that and act accordingly.

Even if I say I will provide the thing next WEEK, it goes into the car NOW (unless it will melt, in which case it goes by the front door, in the way or even hung from the doorknob, obviously outward-bound.) With food items, I post a sticky note on the door at eye level, then another on the steering wheel of the car.

And when you say you will pray for someone, do so in the next breath, especially if you say this in an email. Then it’s done, and the prayer-ee will notice any effects, such as unexplainable peace, immediately, and remember it came from God.

Third, Those Projects You Wish You Could Accomplish

No one really cares if your kitchen is reorganized, but you wish it. Few will notice the grass in your day lilies, but you’d like to get it out of there. No one but you knows how messy your filing system on your laptop is, but it’s driving you slowly and completely crazy.

Begin now, by scheduling a non-negotiable time, each day, to work on it. By non-negotiable, I mean telling the children, “You know Mom has to fix the kitchen (flower bed, computer) right now, every day, so can it wait?” I consider interruptions akin to interrupting a phone call, if I am keeping a promise to myself. Children can even answer the phone for you while you are elbow-deep in kitchen utensils, you know, and you can train them to answer however you want, such as: “Mom is at work, right now. May she call back later? Thanks!”

So: At 10:00 each morning, I will empty one kitchen drawer, get the ick-o out of it, hammer the thing back together better, re-line it with new liner, eliminate the extraneous contents, and reload. It only takes a half hour, or less, and you will not believe how much more you’ll like yourself at 10:30.

OR: At 6:30 each morning, I will pull the grass from the day lilies for ½ hour.

OR: At 10:00 each night, I will get the misfiled folders out of one file and find all the missing things that should be in it.

Then give yourself another such kiss and hug tomorrow, on schedule.

I know, it seems like so much work, it seems so far away, it seems I’d never forget such a promise. However, the truth is that if we decide NOW how to deal with these challenges, we succeed. He who fails to plan, plans to fail.

So, here’s a quiz:

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12 thoughts on “3 Best Times to Begin a Project

  1. faerylandmom says:

    I get it, I get it! Boy, if I ever needed a post…

    Also – I’ve learned to use my phone’s calendar and to-do list functions. They ding at me in time to make sure I remember things I usually forget. It has helped a LOT. I have more of a problem with the longer projects. I struggle with feeling, if I can’t get it done in ONE weekend/day/whatever, I don’t want to start. So, my bedroom has been primered for 2 years. o.O

    Sigh… So…now then. I will plan it out.

    • Katharine Trauger says:

      So glad you were blessed! Thanks for this fun comment! 🙂
      All I know with painting is that if you have to break it into segments, stop at the corners where the walls meet. No one can tell, then, if the paint has faded a bit. 🙂

  2. Kate Kresse says:

    I loved this post. I have started doing a lot of things myself. I put a small whitebd on my fridge. Anytime I realize I am running low on something, or something needs to be returned, or an errand needs to be run, I initially write it on the whiteboard. Before heading out the door, I put returns in the car, add my list to my phone, or whatever. Amazing what a difference that makes. This week, every day, I am working for 30 minutes on catching up my files. Period. x0

  3. sage_brush says:

    Outstanding post! Really! Procrastination gets us absolutely nowhere. Thank you, Katherine!

    Proverbs 20:4
    The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.

  4. thehomeschoolmomblog says:

    Might we have one more category? The one where we WANT to tackle the project, but we have to wait for hubby? (laughing) Oh, there are so many I wish we could get to, but it is all in His timing and his timing.
    Great post and a great reminder!

  5. countrygirllifeonthefarm says:

    I’ve started making list of projects that have to be done before winter and check them off as I do them. If I’m sitting out on the front porch chilling the first thing I think about is what’s on that list that I could be doing instead of sitting here chilling. Of course, I need my chilling time too!!
    Love your posts Katherine!!

    • Katharine Trauger says:

      Thanks so much! 🙂 I LOVE lists! I used to list chores for my children and they used to race to be first to sign up for chores, because the early bird got the best chores! We lived by them! God made lists, too, such as the 10 Commandments, the Fruit of the Spirit, etc. So helpful!

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