There are many reasons not to start on a task — more, I’d bet, than there are reasons to get started.

Excuses include:

  • I don’t have enough time or energy to do the whole thing.
  • It’s a big project and I don’t know how or where to begin.
  • Conditions aren’t ideal for starting today.
  • I’ll worry about it tomorrow.
  • I’d really like to buy some more supplies first.

The list goes on.

So it’s been with our basement workshop, a well-established hub of clutter and disorganization. Tools cover every horizontal surface. Cabinets overflow with piles of random stuff. Sometimes the floor gets involved and I climb over a saw to access the washing machine.

Sure, we could fix it this weekend, but our new workbench isn’t built yet, and we can’t install a new organizing system until we remove the old bench, and…see above list.

hanging tools

That’s why I was so impressed when I walked downstairs the other day. There, on the wall behind the workbench’s temporary home, hung a neat row of tools.

The next day, I saw a few more. And the next, yet another.

Stop stalling and just do one small thing.

When I asked my husband about this new development, he confessed he’d finally gotten sick of knocking tools off his work area. He stuck a French cleat to the wall and made a hanger for a saw. Then, as he stood back to admire his work, a level clattered to the ground. He made a hanger for that, too.

It’s easy to become paralyzed in the face of real-world conditions: it’s not a perfect time to do it, you don’t have the perfect tool for the job, etc. The problem is, if you wait for the ideal time to get it done, it’s not getting done anytime soon.

Next time you get stuck, ask yourself what one quick, small, seemingly-insignificant thing you can do to make the situation better.

For us, it was hanging up a few tools, even though we’ll have to move them to a new spot in a few months.

Sometimes it’s not about creating the beautiful, gratifying, impressive final product right there and then. It’s about moving forward one tiny step at a time.

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