April 26, 2011
Keeping a checklist is a great way to make sure no energy is wasted on your project
Courtesy George Doyle/
Stockbyte/Thinkstock
I learned the hard way that even when its a small project, like painting a room, it’s a good idea to have a list to keep you on track.

It’s been eight years since our son graduated from high school and moved out (for the most part). It’s been 7 years and 11 months since my wife first said, “I think it’s time to paint his room a different color.” It’s been about a month since we actually picked out the paint. It’s been two days since we washed the walls, spackled in some holes, fixed a corner wallboard joint and very efficiently taped the trim.

Until yesterday, everything had gone as smooth as clockwork.

Yesterday was when I went to sand down the excess spackle, which I had applied liberally the night before. It was then that we realized that I had not taken care of the corner wallboard joint. Yesterday was when we realized sanding the spackle was going to require washing the walls again. It also was when we realized that sanded spackle covered the tape on the trim.

Oh yes, and yesterday was the one day of sunshine forecast for the week!

Yesterday was when we were reminded that even the smallest project is best done with a chronological to-do list in hand. With such a list, the spackle and its sanding would have been done before wall washing … ditto for the corner-joint repair.

With a list in hand, the taping also would have waited for spackle sanding, leaving the tape nice and pristine for the paint drips to come.

With a list in hand, the room to be painted would have been painted yesterday … not today.

Next time, there will be a list in hand—assuming I don’t forget it somewhere, of course.

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