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What are you procrastinating over?

Are you a homeowner? I am. We are, I mean. After a while it begins to feel like “home moanership” doesn’t it?


In 2008, we bought an older home. Built in 1977 by an electrical contractor and his wife, it’s well constructed and nestled in the shadow of Prince George’s Cranbrook hill. We’re in a quiet neighborhood and I’ve always felt good about living here.


Just the same, it’s an older home. We replaced the roof, the windows, and the sliding doors. We repaired the chimney. We stripped wallpaper and painted. (Okay no, that's a lie. I didn’t paint.) We replaced dark carpets with laminate and quarry tile and replaced narrow brown mouldings with fat white finishings.  Oh, yes, and we swapped out those old brown bifold doors. Oh, of course, we’ve also replaced the stove, the fridge, the dishwasher (twice), the freezer, the hot water heater, and the furnace. I’m sure I’m missing some things in my moanership tale.


We’ve done all those things but, until this week, we’ve never tackled the basement.


Why? Well, looking back, the answer is simple. We procrastinated. When we moved in, the things we couldn’t bear to let go of came with us. Add the ‘new stuff’ that we’ve accumulated since moving in and, well, you know ... there’s an overwhelming amount of ‘stuff’ to deal with. Plus, our basement is the size of BC Place! Okay, obviously it’s not, but the point is, that’s how it felt.


Anyway, last week, we dug in and purged. The job went surprisingly fast once we finished talking about it, and soon our garage was full. Without delay, trips were made to Value Village, the Salvation Army, and to the landfill. Anything left over was collected by friends. With the garage empty we moved on to Phase II.


Our basement was an homage to the 1970’s. Think Star Wars, Farrah Fawcett, Bee Gees, bell bottomed jeans, and stubby beer bottles.

Not anymore.


It took two days to remove the carpeting, scrape the floor, and remove the wallpaper before cutting the bar into sections that we could take outside. Yes, we even had a bar. Then we started painting. (Okay, still not me painting.) While there’s still work to do, the dread we’d once felt has been replaced by the excitement of a project coming together. We’re nearly there!


We’re already laughing at our procrastination. The project that once seemed so big has become manageable. As Simon Sinek once posted “The hardest part is starting. Once you get that out of the way, you’ll find the rest of the journey much easier.” Thanks Simon. By the way I'm still partial to the big stack hi-fi stereo and speaker towers. Just sayin'.


Tackling a big project doesn’t have to be as daunting as we make it out to be. After all, a big project is just a collection of smaller projects. Finally, we got down to it, and set a goal - we gave ourselves a week in which to get the basement purged, stripped down, and painted. It was a realistic goal that allowed time for work commitments, and exercise; and we still had time for the season's first barbecue and a glass of wine.

We Broke it Down: We broke the project down into tasks. Each of us took on separate tasks, stayed out of each other’s way and checked in periodically.

We Set Clear Goals: Though we each took time off to deal with ‘other’ (real life) commitments we set realistic goals that, now that I look at it, were Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relavent and Time Bound! Look at us being SMART!

We Prioritized Tasks: Some tasks are more important than others, but they don’t need to be done right away! While we didn’t document these priorities, in a different setting we might have formally distinguished between Important and Urgent. Or we might have just listed the Most Important Tasks.

We had a Timeline: There’s a saying that if you give a person a week to do a job, they’ll take a week. If you give them a day, they’ll take a day. We had a clear timeline in mind – “after a week we want to shop for and select new flooring”. Again, clear goals. See above.

We Created a Routine: We set up a time when work would be done and clearly communicated what outside commitments also needed attending to. We seldom worked after 500 pm. We never started before 9am, but the in-between interruptions were rare.

We eliminated distractions: I was really looking forward to attending brunch with friends this weekend, but doing so would have set us back by a half-day. When family members popped over to bring coffee and "check on progress” we seldom stopped to relax. We were on a roll and didn’t want to lose momentum.

We started: Back to Simon Sinek – we agree, the hardest part is starting. Nike says to “Just do it!” but the Under Armour slogan is, “I will.” I like it. Say it with me “I will start today.”

We celebrated: Several times along the way we caught each other smiling. Scraping carpet glue from floors isn’t fun but when the job is done, there’s a sense of satisfaction knowing that we’re one step closer to having a new space to enjoy.

There’s still a fair bit to do in our basement reno. After the flooring is installed, it will be time for new baseboards and touch-ups but it’s exciting to see a plan come together. What started as an easily ignored chore is now something we're both excited about. Plus, after the purge, we 'feel lighter’. Along the way we learned about trusting one another and not micromanaging, and we also saved close to $ 10,000 over the contractor's quotes. There's another reason to celebrate.

What projects are you procrastinating on? What projects can you start today? I’d love to hear.

Norm Adams isn't an experienced painter but he is an experienced trainer, facilitator, business developer, and business owner with 30-years’ experience working with small business owners, First Nations’ Governments, Indigenous entrepreneurs, as well as public and private companies in Canada and the United States. Last year, he was selected the 2023 Business Coach of the Year by the Professional Business Coaches Association of Canada. Do you have a project that you need to get off the ground that doesn't involve painting?  Contact Norm today at


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