How to finish those DIY projects you started in lockdown

With more time spent at home this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DIY projects have kept many of us busy. Whether you were looking for things to keep you entertained or finally had the time to tackle those much-needed fixes, it can be easy to start a project but it’s another thing to finish it.

Staying motivated

Clearly it’s better to really consider what you might be undertaking before you start work on a project, whether it’s as small as sanding down a piece of furniture or as big as renovating the kitchen. But what happens when your project unexpectedly stalls?

Life coach Guy Mullon says that when you’re struggling with motivation to complete your task, ask yourself the following:

  • What is the cost of not finishing this project?
  • What benefit do I gain if I finish it?
  • Who else will be affected and how?

Counting the cost

When we start projects we don’t tend to consider the cost involved. “The cost may be financial but more often it’s the time commitment and energy taken from other things that are also important, as well as our emotional energy,” says Guy.

“We may find problems we didn’t know existed, the project comes in conflict with other important things or we make mistakes and our negative emotions drain our commitment,” he says.

Understanding the obstacles

Think about why it is that you’re struggling to complete your project. Perhaps you’ve run out of parts for your build and can’t go out to the hardware store, or you’ve realised painting the whole house was a much bigger undertaking than you first thought.

Guy says to consider:

  • What can I do to move the project out of being stalled?
  • What resources have I got that I haven’t fully used yet?
  • Who/what other resources can I bring in to help me?

Thinking about your goals

While your goal may be obvious – such as fixing a broken item so you can use it again – others may be less clear. Think about:

  • What’s a sub-goal of the project I’d like to achieve by the end of this week (or next week)?
  • What micro-steps can I take each day this week to move me to that goal?
  • How will I celebrate achieving this sub-goal at the end of the week?

Getting rid of the guilt

Because it’s not uncommon for us to not comprehend what we’re getting into when it comes to DIY, Guy points out we don’t always have to finish what we have started. This is especially pertinent to the changing nature of the pandemic restrictions and therefore our day-to-day lives.

“Other things in our lives can change which shift the benefit versus cost equation,” says Guy. “So if in your re-evaluation you decide that the cost of completion is not worth the benefit, then you should work out an exit plan.”

“Take a pragmatic look at the problem and look at it as something outside of you,” he says. “In two columns list the pros and cons of continuing or stopping, then decide what is the path you want to follow. It is a project you chose to start, and you also can choose to end it.”

Whether you decide to complete your DIY project, come back to it at a later stage or abandon it altogether, it’s your call. You may have found a new hobby or perhaps something you never want to try your hand at ever again!  

This information is of a general nature. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or specific needs so you should look at your own financial position and requirements before making a decision. Before making a decision about Defence Health products you should read the relevant product guide (call 1800 335 425 or visit for a copy).

Category: Family


Like it? Share with your friends.

Article by: Defence Health