How to plan and remeber your home projects

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    There are always things to do around the home whether it is the regular weekly tasks of cleaning and management or larger projects that take planning and setting aside of time to complete.

    The one group of tasks that seems to get by me are the things you need to do to prepare for different seasons of the year. There are always things that you need to do to make your home ready whether it is planting the garden in the spring or organizing the shed and summer tools at the end of summer. These things are relatively easy to do but they do require that you set aside some time.

    Larger projects like building a deck, redoing a kitchen or bathroom will take days to complete and along with the time to actually perform the work there is a lot of time needed for planning, submitting permits, buying materials and making sure you have everything you need to get the job done.

    I have found that there are two ways that work for me and they might help you. The first is very low tech and doesn’t require much work. I have a wall calendar that I place near my bedroom door. Whenever I exit the room it is right there and I have found a really easy way to remember large and important tasks that must get done. Although I might be blind to the scribbling that I write in the days of the week I have a stack of orange postit notes and a black magic marker that I use to write down important things and place them in the top section where the picture is above the calendar.

    As I remember or have time to complete a task I remove the postit and have room for more things to do. Sometimes I will use a full size postit and sometimes I will tare off a smaller piece and that lets me know the importance of the task. I also use the left row to place the most important things like going to the bank or paying a bill. This works for me right now and I might get use to it. Other people do the same thing but use the edges of their computer monitor. That is fine too if you are always at your desk but maybe its better to only save computer related tasks that way.

    The next thing is a little more technical and might not suit everyone. Recently I have started using google calendar alerts to plan some parts of my day. I have tasks that start at 7am and end around 9pm and they need to be done every day. An easy way that I have found is to set an event and then a popup alert will come up on my computer screen a few minutes prior to the task I need to complete. This gives me time to prepare by completing whatever I am currently working on so I can move on to that daily task. Some days I will need to ignore or delete the task but the reminders work well.

    You can get desktop popups if you leave your chrome browser open all the time or you can install a ap that will provide popup alerts. I have actually started writing one that is in beta and it uses google’s api and sits in my system tray. When there is an event it pops up a window telling me a few minutes before it needs to be started. I can’t say when it will be released for public use.

    Managing Large Projects

    When you need to manage large projects you need a specific method that you use only for that job.

    Some people like to invest in project management software and that is great if you are a contractor. There are many features including allowing your subcontractors to sign in at the site when they get there or when they leave for breaks or the end of the day. This lets you know what your people are doing and how you should be billed.

    For the rest of us you can probably get away with a mixture of a calendar ap and a spreadsheet.

    Spreadsheets are great for outlining all of the tasks needed to perform a job such as planning, purchasing materials and the expectations of completion dates.

    You can move things around rather easy and add additional sheets to a project group for materials lists to keep track of what you have and what you need an all of the costs related.

    It is probably not the best method to track your subcontractors if you have any but it would allow you to setup cost sheets and maintain a list of billable hours.

    This along with a calendar ap that lets you know your day to day requirements should get you through your job quickly and on time.

    Final Note

    The amount of time that you invest in setting up a time and job management system will pay you back in the end but you might think it is wasting your time up front.

    If you are a general contractor that gets paid to do the work or if you expect a big project in your life like building a home or adding a large addition to your home then a professional package might be your best route.

    If you are simply trying to remember that on the first Saturday of April next year you want to make sure that you have tested the pool pump then a calendar ap will help you out more than a professional package. And they are free too. And for day to day tasks you can setup phone or desktop alerts that will keep you moving through your projects hour by hour.

    The key is to use a few different things at the same time that way if you happen to ignore one you probably won’t ignore all of them. Either that or hire an assistant.


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