I am a master planner. I am great at thinking of big projects that I want to get done. I’m not so good at the “follow-through.” Plotting things out in my mind or on paper is one thing; getting started is quite another. I’m also a master procrastinator.
Let me make a little aside here. I recently heard a motivational speaker say, “Procrastination is not a real thing!” What?!? I beg to differ! I’ve been a procrastinator since long before I knew the word for it! It is wrapped up in anxiety, fear of failure, perfectionism and probably (Mom was right) a bit of laziness. It’s not something I’m happy with, and I’m not proud of having that personality characteristic, but it is certainly a real thing!
Once I – finally – get a project started, I am also very easily stalled. A year ago, I started the very ambitious undertaking of painting the floor. I was fixing the dryer at the same time, so there were a few delays in waiting for parts, materials and courage. Eventually, though, I painted the bathroom floor, pulled out the dryer, made the repair, primed and painted the floor where the dryer would sit, pushed it back into place and hooked up the new dryer vent. Hurrah!
The logical next step would be to pull out the washing machine, prime and paint the spot where it sits, put it back in place, then continue on with the laundry room floor, the entryway, the kitchen, and on through the rest of the house. I was stopped at the washer. I couldn’t figure out how to disconnect the hoses. Now that the dryer was hooked up to the new venting system, there wasn’t a bit of room for zig-zagging the washing machine out of its spot. It had to be pulled straight forward, and I couldn’t do it.
Stalled! I allowed that problem to put the entire job on hold, for a whole year. Finally, in a moment of clarity, I thought, “why not just paint around the washer? I could always paint under it at a later time, if and when circumstances change so that I can manage to get it out of its spot.
So, back to my original plan, I’ve been working my way through the house. It takes a little planning, because 1) I live here, 2) most of the house is basically a hallway, with the bathroom at the far end of it and 3) I am of an age where I need to have access to the bathroom at all times. The primer goes on first, and has to cure for twelve hours. That’s followed by two coats of dark gray floor enamel.
I worked my way through the laundry room and entryway. I painted a strip along the row of kitchen cupboards. I pulled out the freezer, and did the spot where it sat. I painted a wide swath against the stairway wall. That left one long pathway right down the middle of the kitchen yet to be painted. I primed it in the evening, putting chairs at either end to remind me where to walk. The next morning, I got up early and put the first coat of paint on it.
Very proud of my progress, I carefully guided the dogs to the back door for our morning walk. Then the telephone rang. When I turned, my elbow hit my coffee cup, and knocked it to the floor. To the freshly painted floor. Where it broke into a dozen pieces, and splattered hot coffee into the paint. At which time, the dogs decided it looked interesting, and rushed through the broken glass and wet paint, to lap up the hot coffee.
I dropped a bath towel onto the mess, wanting to get the coffee sopped up so that I could sweep up the shards of my favorite mug. As I shooed the dogs away, they tracked wet paint through the house, leaving white paw prints where they had stepped in the paint, and depositing dark gray prints all over three good rugs. Meanwhile, I ruined a bath towel, caked the broom with wet paint, and lost all of my momentum.
Stalled, once again. That day, after cleaning up, I still had to walk the dogs and go to work. I just shook my head at it when I got back home. The day after that, the same. The next day, I put the rugs through the wash. This morning, I put one coat of paint over the mess. Maybe, just maybe, I may have the stamina to get back to my project!