Uncluttering the project to-do list

I have a few to-do items that have stayed on my project list for way too long, and a few weeks ago I decided to do something about those items before the end of the year. I wasn’t aiming to necessarily complete each project, but I wanted to get each one in motion.

First, though, I had to figure out why I was stuck — why I wasn’t making progress. And in each case, I found that I was stymied by the first step.

Project 1: Getting routine medical work done

I was overdue for my annual lab work and physical exam. Why? My doctor had retired and I hadn’t settled on a new one. I’d asked a few friends for recommendations, but many of them were in the same situation as I was, having used the same doctor.

Once I decided I really needed to tackle this project, I realized I could easily take a few small steps to move past this decision-making logjam:

  1. Expand the geographical range I was willing to consider.
  2. Send an email to a larger group of people whose opinions I trusted, asking for recommendations.

And this worked out perfectly. Two people raved about their doctors; I picked one and had a first appointment, which went well. After that, I got my lab work done last Thursday, and I have my physical exam set for this coming Friday.

Project 2: Dealing with a broken lighting fixture

I love the lighting fixture in my bedroom, but it has a design quirk that has caused some recurring problems, which my handyman has repeatedly fixed. The last time it stopped working, I just brought a basic blah-looking lamp into the room as a temporary measure and lived with that for way too long. I was unsure what to do as a more permanent solution, so I did nothing.

But finally, I decided to decide and my decision was to give up on the fixture I had and buy a new one. I went back to my favorite lighting store, where I’d bought that first fixture, to see what was available. The store has great customer service and a wonderful selection; the only drawback is that it’s not close to my home. Once I got there and explained my problem, I wished I’d made the effort to come in sooner. The owner said that if I brought in my old fixture, the technicians could probably make an adjustment to prevent the problems I was having!

I got someone to remove the fixture from its ceiling mount, and I took the light into the store. The folks there expect to make the fix and install the light for me again shortly after Christmas.

In both of these cases, once I determined my first steps, everything else fell into place. I just needed to get past the first decision-making hump.

Project 3: Replacing some carpet

I have one final big to-do hanging over me: replacing the worn-out carpet in my home office. This is yet another project where I’m stymied by the first step, which is selecting the kind of floor covering I want. Because of my cats and the way the room is used, carpeting seems like a poor solution. The room already has a lot of wood, so wood flooring sounds like a poor choice, too.

This one is a big decision, as the cost will be non-trivial. But, I’ve got the Internet at my fingertips, there are some good flooring stores nearby, and I know some people to consult — so I’ll be off investigating my options before the end of the year. Because I’m determined to not let this project languish any longer because of one decision-making obstacle, I’m sure to get it done.

4 Comments for “Uncluttering the project to-do list”

  1. posted by Bev Brookes on

    I have had about 13 items on my Project List, most of them since last January (some of them carried over from 2012). I finally buckled down this month and I’ve done 6 of them, with another I’ll do in January. Another two are ongoing ones, which I have worked on this month. It feels really good to cross things of.

  2. posted by Laurie Buchanan on

    One of the most empowering shifts-in-perspective I made was moving from a to-do list to a ta-dah list: http://wp.me/pP1C5-1eu

  3. posted by Bernice on

    This was very encouraging! Thank you!

  4. posted by Susan on

    If you’re still stuck on Project 3, I strongly recommend Sisal carpeting. It’s sturdy and can take abuse from office chair wheels and the like — and your cats will adore your office (and have less of an urge to scratch elsewhere).

    I have a wooden floor in my office and a Sisal carpet in the desk area. You could go wall-to-wall in yours but possibly your existing carpeting is worn out only in the desk area? In that case, you could just add a sisal carpet on top (perhaps with a border in a matching/contrasting colour). This way you would get several more years of use out of your existing carpeting and significantly reduce the cost of this project.

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