Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Break It Down

If you’re renovating a house for the first time, adding a master suite, planning the redo of your kitchen, or some other endeavor with a seemingly infinite number of things to do, consider the words of M.C. Hammer or D.J. Lance and break it down.  Steven Covey is the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  Habit 2 is: Begin with the End in Mind.  You want to have the finished house in your minds-eye from the start, but I want to encourage you to break things down into smaller pieces so your plans aren't snuffed out before you really get going.

Consider for a minute that you where embarking on a mountain climbing trip.  Would you be fixated on the top of the mountain as you marched forward each minute?  I doubt it.  Each day, you'd probably be mindful of where you wanted to get before nightfall and you'd surely break that down into a smaller objectives of how far you expected to trek before having a rest, stopping for lunch, and so on.  And think of marathoners who break down their training into do-able segments and have their 26.2 mile mission broken into parts that are marked with mile signage as they get closer to the finish line on race day.  In reality, climbing a mountain, running a marathon, or renovating an extremely run-down home are similar in that they're just a whole lot of smaller steps and tasks put together into something that's greater when it's considered in it's entirety at the end.

I love actor Bill Murray's work and have enjoyed the film What About Bob? more than a few times.  Richard Dreyfuss just wanted Bob out of his office and he used the message from his 'groundbreaking new book' to help make that happen.  If you've never renovated a home before, it might seem overwhelming (like everything was for Murray's character Bob).  However, your home renovation goal is like anything else and needs to be reconsidered in smaller parts.  The interior and exterior.  Then, each room on the inside and the landscaping, the homes exterior, and the roof on the outside.  From there things just get broken down further into small parts that you can knock out one by one.

In addition, when you have a big goal out in the distant future, be certain to celebrate the smaller accomplishments along the way and if you're renovating, remember to look back at your pictures frequently to remind yourself of how much progress you've made (see Step 1 - Pictures, Pictures, Pictures!).  You don't have to have a block party after you successfully knock out each task, but enjoy each accomplishment for what it is and take a moment to savor what you've done before moving on to that next item on your list.

So if you're thinking of climbing a big mountain, becoming an Ironman triathlete, or renovating a extremely run down house (aka - Pig's Ear) start by breaking it down again and again and again into achievable pieces and begin taking small steps ahead toward the moment at the summit, the finish line, or the house you imagine.   

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