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My DIY Decorating Project Planner

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I usually don’t post on Sundays, but thought since I was sharing something with one reader, I would share it with all of you.

I get a lot of emails from readers with questions about all sorts of things, mostly about decorating or readers wanting to know more about my personal life, but there are a few questions I get asked most frequently.

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One of these most frequently asked questions is…  How do I get so many DIY projects done?

These readers know what they like. They want to get their homes decorated and/or projects started and completed. They tell me they lack the time and when they do have time, they lack the energy or are unfocused and weeks go by without them getting anywhere on a project or idea that they want to complete.

For these questions, I usually respond with something like, “My work is my passion; it is just what I do. It is my 9-5 job that I can do all day, every day.”  While most people have jobs that keep them away from home for 40+ hours a week, my work hours are doing projects and blogging about it.

About 3 weeks ago, I got an email from a reader who wrote:

striped pencil page divider

“OMGosh I love your home and all that you have done with it. I have an older home where every room needs updating. Every time I think I am ready to start a project, I become overwhelmed and start procrastinating to the point that I don’t get anything done. How do you stay so focused and where do you get the energy?  Any tips that you can give me would be appreciated as I want to love my house and right now, I don’t.  

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I was going to answer her in the same manner as I had with this kind of question before, but then I stopped and said to myself.  “How can I better explain how I go about getting my projects done that may help her.”

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I began to break down my decorating project process in my mind and knew the one thing she could do that helps me stay focused and not overwhelmed is to write things down.

I am a paper and pencil kind of gal and find I organize better using the paper and pencil method over organizing tasks using digital organizers like Asana and Google Tasks on my computer.

DIY Decorating Project Planner sheet

I write everything down and try to keep each project I am doing or planning on a separate sheet of paper. It is not an elaborate system, just a sheet for each project that I plan to do. I keep all the sheets in a simple folder. I call this folder my brain. It is an extension of my daily planner where I keep track of everything blog-related.

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I also use sticky notes to write on the sheets, highlighting things that need to be done right away.  I use a paper clip to attach any photos or inspiration to the sheet.  When I go out to buy supplies, I then go digital and take a photo of the project sheet I am working on with my phone.

I thought I would make my project sheet available to anyone that wants to give it a try.

Download Free Printable: DIY Decorating Project Planner

No matter if you want to declutter your home, sew drapes for a window, redecorate an entire room or paint a wall.  Getting the scope of your project written down and then having one handy place to keep notes about the project will help you to stay focused and organized.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed with the scope of a project, like when I made over my kitchen. In that case, I kept a project sheet for every aspect of the makeover from painting the counters to ideas for cabinet knobs to how I organized the pantry.

I also followed the “only one” rule.

The “Only One” Rule of Getting DIY Decorating Projects Done

I learned this rule when I worked in retail display early in my career. I would get to work in the morning and there would often be a long list of projects I had to get done that day. On some mornings, it could be overwhelming.

My boss at the time told me to just focus on getting one thing done at a time, cross it off my list, literally with a pencil and then start the next project. If you look at the list as a whole, you will get overwhelmed and may not get nearly the same amount of work done.

He was right and I try to keep this in mind whenever I start to get overwhelmed by the scope of a project.

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I know it seems so simple, but sometimes this is all it takes to help you to stay on task to get a project done.

Do you have any tips for readers on how you keep your DIY decorating projects completed?

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27 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your worksheet. It is exactly what I needed. I was making my to do list way to general then becoming overwhelmed. Love your emails.Thank you for sharing all your wisdom. I have recently retired and was excited about having the time to do DIY’s on our fixer upper retirement home. Then feel frustrated when I just can’t focus and jump in and get started. You have helped me. ??

  2. What a great sheet! I’m going to start using this right away!

    What helped me was understanding the difference between tasks and projects… I bullet journal for planning and organization and also needed to paint my hallway. So I wrote “paint hallway” on the same daily task list as “buy milk” and “pay the water bill.” Epic fail, because at the end of the day, bullet journaling has you move unfinished tasks to the next day. So i did, and it didn’t get done. I repeated this process for like two months, growing more and more frustrated and defeated… until I realized I was putting a giant project on a daily task list. Once I broke the project down” into mini tasks, such as “buy paint” or “find paint trays” was I able to make any progress. Even things like “find flat screwdriver,” and “”remove switch plates” made it on to my list, long before rolling paint on the walls became a thing. This was huge for me and my hallway was painted soon after…and I could finally cross that *project* off my list. :-)

    This planning sheet fits perfectly into my method! Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. Thank You so much for the work flow sheet!! I get so overwhelm and then just sit in a daze…. Loved the one thing idea. I’m on my way now….

  4. With a few tweeks, that sheet would work for my dance projects, too!

    Thanks, Diane!