Are you preparing, planning or procrastinating? Here’s how to tell the difference.

Preparing and planning go hand in hand with any new journey, and embarking on a renovation or new home is no different. However, as with anything new, we can quickly feel a little lost, and procrastination (disguised as preparation or planning) can quickly take over.

Many of us are procrastinators. Even those who are goal-driven, achievement junkies, still deal with procrastination. I even procrastinated about writing this blog about procrastination for few days (yes – the irony was not lost on me).

We can dress procrastination up as ‘getting ready’ and ‘researching’, but what it really is, is fear, confusion and overwhelm.

It’s totally understandable. Don’t beat yourself up if that’s where you’re at. However, it can help to know how to recognise it, stop it, and find your way through it to keep moving forward.

The biggest difference is this:
Preparing and planning are constructive and productive uses of your precious and limited time.
Procrastination is not simply unproductive – it’s actually destructive. It makes you feel terrible, and diminishes something that should be exciting.

And I doubt, with everything you are juggling, you have time to waste, or energy available for getting stressed, and succumbing to overwhelm.

So let’s look at how to be super productive with the little time we have for our renovation or new home. We’ll start with PREPARING …


PREPARING for renovating or building your new home

If you’re like most homeowners in the UA Community, you’ll spend a lot of time preparing to hit ‘go’ on your project. It’s not unusual, or surprising, to see homeowners spending 12 to 24 months really getting ready for their project – even before they start thinking about the design of their project.

Preparation is actually something I advocate when investing your hard earned mortgage in creating or transforming your family home.

It’s also something women generally do more of. We like to be well-informed and well-researched before we tackle something we haven’t done before. It helps us feel more confident and in control overall. Our other halves usually just want it done already!!!

How you spend your time when PREPARING

These are the key activities that happen in the preparation phase.

  • You’re shaping and honing your ideas about what you want for your home and the lifestyle you wish to lead in it.
  • You’re thinking about how much money you’ll be able to spend on it (this often involves a chat with the bank!)
  • You’re getting an idea of how big or small your spaces need to be, and how you want them to function and connect to each other to support your lifestyle.
  • You’re collecting ideas of the things you like, and don’t like. I call this being a “design detective”. Everywhere you look, you’re sleuthing … studying the finishes of things, the way windows are arranged, the shape and size of spaces you feel great in.
  • You’re most likely setting up a means of collecting this information. This may be a folder, or Pinterest account, or Houzz Ideabook. Don’t go crazy though (see the end of this post).
  • You’re finding a few trusted resources – in person and online – and exploring them in depth.
  • You’re starting to create a map, or plan, about how your project will need to progress. (Don’t have one? Grab my free Project Planning E-Guide to help you).


How it feels to be PREPARING

This stage is really exciting, because it’s a world of possibilities, and you’re dipping your toe in it.

There are moments when you can feel overwhelm, because you begin to feel there is “SO MUCH” to know. You’ll also uncover lots of disaster stories in your exploration.

This phase can be where you start thinking “I love all of this but I can’t afford any of it”.

Stay in focused excitement. Be clear about what you’re seeking to achieve for your home, and start to build a picture of resources and ideas in alignment with that.

You’ll slowly be building your ‘brief’ – the document you’ll use to brief your team when you start “PLANNING”.


What can go wrong with PREPARING

Getting scared before you’ve begun

Your well-meaning friends and family will have every disaster story and urban myth to share with you when you announce what you’re up to.

These stories don’t have to be your story.

Just this weekend, I had a conversation with a Melbourne woman who told me how great her renovation was going, and how much she was enjoying it. You know why? She had found a great builder, by going through a super strict due diligence process and being proactive about it.

The bad news always travels further and faster than the good news. The good news still exists.

Researching randomly without a framework

Google is a rabbit hole you can quickly disappear down. Have a guided framework to your project research. The free UA Project Planning Cheatsheet and E-Guide is a great start. You may even want to just think about your house room-by-room and start there.

Pinteresting yourself into oblivion

It doesn’t take much to find yourself sitting up well past midnight, pinning that 205th image of another kitchen you love to your Pinterest board.

Set yourself tasks about what you want to explore each time you sit down at your computer, or pick up the phone. Focused research is incredibly useful, and the internet can be an amazing resource.

See the action steps below for some more tips with this.


Suggested resources for PREPARING

Undercover Architect! – well, you’re here … you might as well take a look around 😉

Lunchbox Architect – daily, bite-sized, design inspiration for new homes and renovations

Build.com.au – helpful, short articles across all things building and renovating

The Builders Wife – Nicole Cox is the wife of “The Builder” and together they run a building company in Queensland. Lots of great advice.

Reno Addict – the sister site of Interiors Addict, focussing on all things renovating.

This blog post tells you what to do when you’re feeling “I love it, I want it, I can’t afford it”

Action steps for you in PREPARING

  1. Watch this video, and then think about your main goals for your project. Write them down somewhere you’ll see them regularly … the fridge, for example.
  2. Create for yourself a weekly task list for things to explore, and a place to collect your findings. It may be as simple as “this week is master bedrooms”, or “this week is kitchens”.
  3. Only pin / collect / look at anything to do with that weekly task. Limit yourself to 20 pins in any one collection. If you start pinning more, get rid of something else. This will hurt, but if you’re like most homeowners I work with, you’ll see patterns in what you like and don’t like – and that will help with the next phase: planning.
  4. Always add a specific note to your pin to remind yourself later when you come back to look at it (because if you’re like me, you’ll forget why you pinned it!)


In the next blog we’ll explore what it looks like when you’re PLANNING your reno or new home.

Over to you! I’d love to hear from you – are your preparing for your project? Comment below about what you’ve found useful in this post, or other discoveries you’ve made.

Other blog posts you may find useful …

The decisions that matter when designing your home may surprise you. They’re here.

Here are The Builder’s Wife top 5 tips for pain-free building and renovating

The first question to ask about your project is this one.

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