17 May 2012

Baby Steps for Projects

I’ve had quite a few projects on my mind these days. Repairs around the house. Decorations. Improvements. Organizing. And just some fun things I’ve waited until we were ‘settled’ again to do.

The thing is I have two small kids. And frankly that fact can make the idea of completing projects a bit more daunting.

But I've made it work! My secret, which really isn’t a secret at all is baby steps.

I mean teeny tiny itsy bitsy pieces of a project at a time.

Lemme show ya.

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When we first brought H back to Africa at sweet and tiny 5 weeks old, this was his  nursery. We lived in a different house at the time. I had made this bunting for his room and hung it for decoration. I loved it.

When we switched houses I used it again in the room that both the kiddos share. However several years later I now wanted to update it a bit and add some brighter more fun prints into the mix.

So that was my project. Nine new flags to add to the bunting I already had and then hang it all up for the first time since returning back.

Here is where the baby steps came in.

The important thing to note about the baby steps is that each of these steps was accomplished at a completely separate time. The bulk of the project could have been accomplished in a few hours if one could devote herself entirely to the project. But I couldn’t do that… I never had enough time to do it all beginning to end. But I sure did have several minutes here and there throughout my days and that is all I needed to get this done. I actually did this over a course of probably a week or more.

1. Prewash fabric and dry.

2. Get out ironing board and iron. (A tiny step for sure, but necessary. And it got me one step closer and that always feels good.)

3. Iron fabric.

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4. Dig out old bunting to use for a pattern.

5. Iron old bunting. (This probably took the longest of all the steps, and my boy assisted me on this one by handing me flags on one side and stacking them neatly on the other.)

6. Cut 9 new flags.

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7. Iron seams down on new flags.

8. Cut 9 new sets of ribbon for hanging.

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9. Replace sticky hooks on the wall in the kids room. (Switching gears to preparing the room for the bunting cause once I had sewn them I knew I wouldn’t want to wait to hang them up.)

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10. Purchase string in the market.

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11. Hang string on the wall through the sticky hooks that had already set for a day.

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12. Get out sewing machine and thread it with the correct thread. (Another tiny, but necessary step in the right direction. And how fun to have it all ready and waiting for me when the time came too…)

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13. Sew flags! Now, you might say this was the actual project. But see how much had to be done in preparation?! I actually could sew each flag in two minutes flat. It was so quick. But a lot had to happen ahead of time before I could sit down and actually DO IT!

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14. Hang flags!

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15. Stand back and admire!!! (Okay, so this was the only step that I actually did immediately after the prior one! Ha!)

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So rewarding, eh?!

When projects are broken down, they seem so much more achievable. I have applied this rule to so many areas of life lately. If I am feeling overwhelmed about what I have to cook in a day’s time I even think about that in steps. Choosing recipes would be the first. Then I’d go do something else. Then I’d go back later when I had a minute and set out all the ingredients I would need when the time came to cook. And later when the time came to start cooking I would feel like I already was prepared and had a good start and it wouldn’t seem so overwhelming to me anymore cause I had already taken a couple steps in the right direction.

Am I the only one out there who likes to operate like this?! Planning and preparation bring me such joy. And I get so much more done in my days when I think about what little steps I can take to begin accomplishing tasks that seem large and looming.

Now… what shall I start next?!…

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