One of the multitude of challenges my husband and I face year in and year out is how best to spend our time and money on the multitude of home-improvement projects that are screaming for our attention. Our home is about 180 years old and is in need of repair and upkeep, which are obvious priorities. But we also have ideas for improving the house, and making it more suitable for our own needs and desires. For example, it’d be nice to have solar water heating, and a dedicated space for brewing beer.
We have all of these thoughts rolling in our heads constantly. It can be paralyzing. We go to the home improvement store to work on one thing and remember all the others, and wind up buying nothing, because we can’t remember why we went there in the first place or our original purpose doesn’t seem to matter any more.
Last night, as part of our family New Year goal setting, we sat down and brainstormed the list. All those things we want or need to do, all put into a simple spreadsheet. Then we added columns for cost (1 to 5, with 5 being the most expensive), time involved (1 to 5, with 1 being a weekend project and 5 being something might take months), and priority (1 to 5, with 1 being most urgent, and 5 being something we can live without). We also noted whether we could do the task ourselves or would have to hire someone.
Then we sorted the list.
An amazing thing happened. Suddenly we have a manageable list of things to do. Suddenly, it’s not overwhelming. Suddenly, we think we can do it.
And there’s the extra added benefit that everyone had input. Now we know what matters to each other. Now we agree on what should be most urgent, and what can wait. Now we know why.