I think we've all been there. If you haven't, count yourself lucky. What am I talking about? I'm talking about those times when you feel like you've got so much going on that you can't keep your head on straight.

We've reached a point in our lives and home renovation where we have several big and small projects going on at the same time. We're also swamped at work, have lots of stuff we want to do with friends, have vacations we want to take, things we want to do, movies and TV we want to watch...and it all starts to add up. Oh, did I mention, we have this little blog we want to work on too?

Are you sure there are 24 hours in a day? It feels like there are maybe only 12, but I'd prefer it if there were 48, and I didn't have to sleep anymore. Yeah, then I'd get all my stuff done.

So what happens now? We have too much to accomplish in too little time. Worse yet, there aren't a lot of things we don't want to move on. What gives?

Yes, yes, I'm using this blog post as my chance to vent and complain just a bit. Oh, woe is me, I have no time. I'm sure all the parents will say "Been there, done that." I'm also sure that many people are thinking, "Yeah buddy, join the club...I have vacations I want to take too." But this isn't just about complaining, it's about setting out to do something about it.

I have a major project at work I've been working on. It's been ongoing for almost the entire last year, and we're nearing the home stretch. Unfortunately, this means longer hours at the office, less time at home, little to no time off, and ultimately, less time to work on the house.

Because of these wonderful "day job" restrictions, my extracuriculars begin to suffer. At about this point in the process, Wendy and I start bickering a bit more around the house due to our limited time, but we also tend to get a lot accomplished. We just need a good game plan to get us jump started, and to me, a good game plan means a good list. Last night Wendy and I took a few minutes to come up with a short and long term list. More importantly, we're putting deadlines on the list. As aa software developer, I need deadlines, otherwise everything will stretch on in perpetuity. Here's an example of what we ended up with:

Immediate/Spring Cleaning Projects - To Be Completed by 3/25

  • Clean bedrooms closets / donate clothing
  • Clean light fixtures in upstairs and downstairs hallway
  • Clean windows inside and out
  • Clean crystal chandelier in dining room and master bedroom
  • Remove gross spider webs from eaves by back door
  • Replace burned out light bulbs in and around the house 
  • Replace battery in hallway clock
  • Clean freezer

Short Term/Smaller Projects

  • Fix crack in ceiling near skylight - 4/15
  • Paint guest bathroom ceiling - 4/22
  • Assemble great grandfather's chair - 4/29
  • Fix grandfather clock 
  • RootX in our waste line - 4/1
  • Paint front stairs - 4/1 (weather permitting)
  • Buy and plant new square foot garden veggies
  • Finish basement cleanup - (hrm...)
  • Plant flowers in front urns - 4/8

Mid Term/Medium Size Projects

  • Install Watercop - 4/29
  • Fix nail pops in upstairs hallway 
  • Make bedroom TV cabinet door open automatically 
  • Hang shutters in bedroom and living room - May 2012
  • Fix downspout separation - April 2012
  • Plant flowers, clean beds, mulch, etc. 
  • Improve/fence the bed around the front tree
  • Remove rust from back gate iron grate - May 2012
  • Repaint back gate - May 2012

Long Term/Large Scale Projects

  • Master bathroom - 2012 :-)
  • Complete storm windows (yep, blew that timeline, good thing it was so warm this winter) 
  • Sun porch "wine bar" 
  • Gas lamp for front of house 
  • Restore Bedroom Windows
  • Remove old oil drum from basement - June 2012

Do you think that's enough for us? Should we add more? How about adding "and blog about it" to the end of every task. You know that adds about 50% onto every project. :-)

We've put a few dates on them, but what do you think are reasonable estimations? Here are our lovely lists in progress hanging on the kitchen fridge door.

Sometimes life can get you down, even when you've been dealt a pretty great hand overall. It's all about keeping things in perspective. For me, keeping things in perspective means that I have a clear view of what's ahead and how or when to tackle those things.

If you don't keep things in perspective, the fact that you have a crack in the wall, a guest bathroom that has paint issues on the ceiling (because of hot showers), or a non functioning master bathroom can easily become all consuming. Forget about the things in life you really want to do because you feel like your whole world is crumbling around you.

But if you can get yourself to a point where you can take care of one or two of those major items that will help you feel like you're once again in control of your life, everything after that point just sort of feels like it can fall into place. Well, that is if you consider lots of hard work and dedication to getting things done falling into place.

How are your task lists and do you have anything nagging that you absolutely have to get done to feel better about your life, yourself, or your home? You know I love it when you share your similar stories. Makes me feel a little less like I'm on an island of self loathing and more like there are many others on the boat with me.

Comments 10


3/23/2012 at 12:48 PM
OMG!! I am so like this at the moment, there is so much I want to do in the house, I need to find myself a new job, I want to write my blog, I want to see my friends, I want to go on holiday!! And I have ended up stressed out and a bit down by it.... ridiculous when it is all fun exciting stuff. Thanks for reminding me to step back!! Good luck with the lists!! xox
Thanks, Ashleigh. I think we'd have ever more things piling up on our list if we were near Edinburgh. You know the "Vacations we want to be taking." That's right up there on the top of our list.
3/23/2012 at 1:42 PM
I need to write more lists. Both Mike and I tend to keep everything swirling around in our heads and it becomes totally overwhelming feeling.
This is precisely why the lists work so well for me. I feel exactly the same way.
3/23/2012 at 2:42 PM
If it weren't for lists, I'd never get anything done! And, for the most part, it is all things that I want to get accomplished, but it does feel overwhelming at times. Too many chores and not enough time.

Making a list clarifies it for me. I tend to over schedule myself and bite off far, far more than I can chew. That's when I know I have to step back a bit and take time for "life stuff" and concentrate on only the most urgent of projects - like leaky roofs or running taps.

After all, the chores and projects will still be there. My life won't disintegrate if I don't get the living room painted.
I think the hardest part when you over extend is the fact the stuff that you really want to do is actually what tends to suffer first :-/
3/25/2012 at 7:16 PM
First time to your site and I just read your front step story. You HAVE to leave a picture of you under the stairs when you move out so future owners can really appreciate what you did. Love that picture.
We're so glad you found us, welcome to our never ending renovation. :-)

We've actually been leaving photos and notes all around the house. Hopefully someone will find them in 100 years or more. But you're right, I should have thought about that and hit something under the bricks in a zip lock bag. Maybe I'll pull some bricks up to bury it.
3/26/2012 at 6:14 AM
Pull some bricks up? You really love your house and take its care seriously, don't you? You've just made me realize that I need to leave some pictures, too. I've had to pay for renovations (electrical, roofing, demolition and new support wall, etc.) but I have been a good caretaker of my 150 year plus New England home.
8/5/2014 at 6:20 PM

I'm really enjoying reading your blog from beginning to end. As far as I'm concerned, everyone can have a bitch session every now and then. Go for it.

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