Getting Unstuck and Finishing Tasks

Sometimes I really wonder why it takes me so long to get certain things done. I’ve noticed that home repairs fall into this category. I know that part of the challenge is even a small repair, or change, requires effort, exacerbated by not having the right equipment or tools to get the job done. Most of the repairs require more than one person and must be done during “business” hours because of noise by-laws.

But if I had to be honest with myself, these are just excuses I make so I don’t feel so guilty and silly about procrastinating on doing things that I know will make my home better.

A couple of weeks ago I decided I was going to put up the counter lights I had purchased over 2 years ago (!) from IKEA. I refused to face another long, dark winter without proper lighting in my kitchen. One evening after dinner, I assembled all the necessary pieces and tools. The project didn’t require a hammer or drill, so it could be done after hours. I convinced my partner to helpĀ  and we did it.

Total installation time: 1 hour

Total project time: 2 years, 1 month, and 1 hour

End result: I love it! I’m so happy to have proper lighting in my kitchen. I instantly forgave myself for waiting 2+ years to install it.

A friend of mine once told me that she often gets stuck on a task or project because she doesn’t know something and this causes delays or even a complete stop. With the counter lights, the big delay for me was figuring out how to attach the transformer to the cabinets without a drill. Although even when my brother devised a drill-free, easy solution, it still took me another 6 months to get motivated.

Some tips for getting unstuck:

  • Pick one project.
  • Write down all the tasks that need to get done.
  • Put them in a logical order.
  • Break the larger tasks down into smaller, more manageable ones.
  • Aim to get one of these smaller tasks done every week (or month!).
  • Release the bad feelings and guilt about yourself, as these may only de-motivate you further.

You may not be moving fast, but you’ll still be moving forward.

Next on the task list, putting up my new livingroom curtains.

Total procrastination time: 6 months and counting

Final step: Finding a helper and time during “business” hours to install

4 comments for “Getting Unstuck and Finishing Tasks

  1. Anonymous
    4 December 2018 at 10:11

    Very well written outline of the reasons and possible solutions. Maybe the problem is really due to a procrastination gene in families.

  2. peggy malpass
    4 December 2018 at 11:24

    So true and timely for me – we left a little toilet leak go for far too long, and now have a HUGE water bill to show what procrastination means. It is now fixed, took one phone call, and 20 minutes. Aargh, should have done it long ago…..but I am releasing that bad feeling, and aiming for being more immediate in future. Thanks for your wise words.

  3. Jamesw2965
    10 December 2018 at 10:15


    I grew up in an apartment in NYC. We called the supper when something broke. So I’m not a handy guy who loves his power tools. Now that we own a house, I have had to learn to fix some of the simple stuff. From my own experience, I have found as this isn’t work that is in my comfort zone, as my electronic gadgets and computers are I need to be slow and steady. Though I find your guide to be very informative and helpful, I feel you have overlooked a few things.

    1) Researching the task at hand thoroughly is a must. But putting a time limit on yourself is counterproductive in my mind. Putting a time limit on yourself adds wanted pressure to a task that you are already uneasy with. Break the task down to subtasks and get them done, and do them well. You want to do it only once, so take your time and do it right.

    2) have your research handy. It makes things so much easier if you can have your reference material close at hand. One of the best research tools is Youtube. Good luck DIY’er’s.

    • The Deletist
      10 December 2018 at 12:12

      James! How right you are. Researching the tasks is definitely a critical step, and that can definitely be one (or more!) of the subtasks. And to clarify, there’s no time limit, just a strategy to keep moving forward in incremental steps. Even if you only do one a month, that’s still progress.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.