Yesterday, in a fit of inspiration, moved the furniture out of my bedroom and tore up half of the carpets. A few months ago I did the floors for the rest of my house, but I ran out of time and my bedroom threshhold was a natural stopping point. And then... there was no natural restarting point.
So for six months I've had a pile of flooring, two rolls of rubber underlayment, and an air compressor sitting on my floor.
My neighbors go to sleep early, so I didn't make much progress the first night. I just removed the carpet, scraped the floor of old glue, pulled off the baseboards and molding, and pulled extra staples.
The next day I got a late start because I had some other work to do, and when I was done with it, I just didn't feel like working. I moved at a snail's pace and before I knew it, my power tool curfew was past and I couldn't get anything more done. I really only got an hour of work done in three hours.
It's easy to write days off. We all know what a "zero" day looks like and we've all had enough of them that they don't cause us to panic.
But I've trained myself to alarm a little bit. When I have a day where I didn't get something done that I anticipated getting done, the first thing I ask myself is: "what's going to be different tomorrow?"
Sometimes there's a legitimate difference. I'll have some help, or I'll have fewer other tasks to do, or a new tool will come in that will make it easier.
But if nothing's going to be different, then what right do I have to think I'll get it done? The correct answer is none, so I have to make something different.
Tonight I drove to Walgreens and bought a new silver sharpie, came home, and started tracing out the rubber underlayment. I cut it and put it in place. Then I chose the next row of wood and measured and marked the cuts I'd need to make. After that I went to my shed, got the saw and vacuum, and moved them inside. I even set the guard of the saw so that the first cut is ready to go.
Tomorrow something will be different. I have prepped to make it extremely easy to start making progress. In particular, I've made it so that the very next step I take will cause an immediate visible improvement. That will be motivating and make it easy for me to continue.
Never trust yourself if you think you're going to respond differently to the same stimuli. If you do, it's a fluke. Make success easy by changing the stimuli to make it easier to get the results you want. Hey, I even wrote a blog post early so that I won't get distracted by writing this week when I'm finishing up my floor.
Photo is the room near completion. Now it's done and I slept in my own bed again! Ever since writing the post I made pretty quick progress.
I'd love to see a post on some of your home improvement projects. Not your usual material, but would be interesting to see how you teach yourself to do these projects, and then implement.
Wait, I thought you hated manual labor? You posted about how you HATED even moving speakers up some stairs for a party back in like 2007. Is this a joke???
Previous birthdays never really meant much to me. At eighteen I could buy cigarettes and porn, but I didn't because I don't smoke and know what the internet is. At twenty one I could buy alcohol, but didn't because I don't drink. I could gamble, too, but had already been doing it for years online. At twenty five I could rent cars at a discounted rate. That was a little bit exciting, but not exactly a life changer.
So when thirty rolled around, I didn't expect much. And, of course, the actual day didn't really change anything, but the increasing comprehension that my twenties were over did change something. I got serious.
My first ten years were spent filling diapers, and then drawing with crayons. It's tough to expect much from a 0-9 year old, and I'm sure I just about met those expectations.
My next ten years were spent learning, mostly. I learned how to make money, how to write, how to do math, and how to speak some Chinese and Spanish. A lot of my good friends were met during these years, too. So the 10-19 age range was mostly experiencing the world and building up a collection of reference experiences to help me understand it. The foundations of who I "am" were built during these years. I became a nerd, I became interested in Asia, I neglected social skills to the point that I would later have to become a pickup artist, I gained a deep understanding of risk and reward, became an entrepreneur, and I started exploring things.
That was me circa 1990 right after I graduated from the University of Colorado. My focus was to get "On the Road to Find Out" and decide if not what I wanted to do with my life when I grow up, where I wanted to settle down at least. Purchased a 1976 VW Westfalia pop-up with the idea that the window in my life I was currently in was a fleeting one and if I was ever to go on this wild adventure this was my one opportunity to do so. I had no immediate need to work, a few thousand in savings, two empty credit cards to get in serious financial trouble with, and plenty of time yet until I entered "the real world"... saddled by the monthly mortgage payment, meager paychecks that would leave me with more month than money, and all that comes along with a wife, children and raising a family.
My original plan was to leave Boulder and take a figure eight journey around the country, traveling as far North as Quebec, the French Gaspé, Turtle Island and Vancouver, and as far South as Key West, Pony Island and Baja California. I planned on following every inch of the US coastlines that I could, seeking out as many new adventures and experiences as possible. The estimated time table the trip would require was approximately 2 months to complete from start to finish, with many different family members and friends to stop in and visit along the way.
As one of my favorite quotes from John Lennon goes - "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."