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.