I really enjoy project planning.

Starting something new, getting organized, gathering supplies, making a timeline, all these things are particularly soothing ways to pass the time for me.  Project planning is, strangely enough, something I truly enjoy.

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Although I pretty much suck at doing it right.  I admit it.  It’s not like I can hide it.  I’m a natural procrastinator and I think that’s what drives me to the abysmal failures in timeline management that I experience on a regular basis.  I simply cannot get excited about deadlines until they are actually upon me; this, of course, leads to frantic periods of “drop everything and finish this” (you don’t really want to know how long I had this blog planned but yet I’m writing it two days late since I couldn’t be bothered to sit down at the airport and write the darned thing) so that I can move on to the next great project.

I plan projects for all kinds of stuff.

We’ve been slowly but surely doing some cosmetic updates to our house – nothing with a must finish date, or even a real sense of urgency – after all, we’re not planning to move out any time soon.  My last two decent sized projects have been insanely late getting finished, at least in comparison to the project planning timeline I set up.

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The first project was reupholstering a bench we bought a couple of years ago – nothing fancy, or so I thought initially.  Two, maybe three, afternoons of working on it, and we would be set.  I envisioned getting the old cover off in an hour, tops, and then Mike could have the frame to reinforce, and I would pop up the new cover and be ready to staple it on and glue gun a little trim on it in no time flat.

The universe laughs at my project planning.

Turns out, the original cover wasn’t applied the way I thought.  And the cheap method of upholstering it was what had caused the legs to splay as we were sitting on it to get dressed.  And the cheap wood they used in frame was a complete waste of trees since the nice legs weren’t going to stay stable and upright with that type of construction.  Poor Mike.  The engineering department was faced with building a new frame to incorporate the old legs, and the art department (um, yes, that would be me) was not about to break down and just buy a new bench.  No way.

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Did I mention it also took HOURS to get that fabric off that stupid thing?  Seriously, what deluded cost cutting brain actually thinks that getting a bunch of tiny fingered Asian folk who work for next to nothing to use that many staples in that manner is a good idea?  Totally wrecked my project planning and my project execution.

Procrastination leads to its own rewards.

I’ve never done foundation paper piecing.  If you are not into fiber arts or quilting or similar, I’m sure you have no idea what it entails, and to be honest, I had no clue either when I thought, “oooh, that would make a great bench seat cover, I can adapt that idea to work for me”, and while the finished product is great, the part where I had to actually make it took at least five times longer than I thought it would.

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The cover taking so long to make was definitely not about procrastination; that was about my inevitable belief that I’m much quicker at learning complex new tasks and somehow have the superhuman ability to do things 84 times faster than people who have been practicing these skills for years.  Makes sense, eh?

Project Planning

All’s well that ends well.

Most of my projects end up as some variation of the plan – they almost never come to complete fruition, mostly because I haven’t taken into account what I don’t know, or what I can’t do, with what I have to work with, and I’m incredibly stubborn (go figure…), and sometimes refuse to scale back my idea of the intended results.

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The only place I don’t seem to do this is on the racecourse.  When I’m in the back of the boat, my absolute thoughts are always on whether or not the crew can execute the maneuver in the time we have allotted, and I’m inclined to always err on the side of giving them more time or doing something less risky than not.  This has served us well, especially in some big regattas over the past couple of years, and we’ve come out the winner quite frequently.  Not always, I know, but often enough that Vegas odds are in our favor.

 

Now I just need to learn to adjust my project planning expectations in other areas, and I would be set!