You know that feeling, when you're frustrated because you want to do something but there’s a bunch of other stuff you need to do first? And there’s that other feeling, of satisfaction, when you actually get through the “need” stuff and create the opportunity to start the “want” stuff?
I love that second feeling.
Followers of this blog will be familiar with the great Easter Tardis project. We didn’t actually finish the job at Easter, and so progress since then has depended on getting through the “need” stuff each week or weekend.
This past weekend we managed to get to an iconic stage on the Tardis: putting up the “Police Box” signs. (The result is pictured above.) Getting to this point required a bit more than just climbing a ladder and banging them on, because we discovered we hadn’t allowed enough room between the tops of the windows and the bottom of the peak to accommodate the height of the signs. The solution was to build in another row of timber below the roof. However, adding that height threw out the height of the corner cladding, so that had to be removed and shifted upwards, with the additional length added at the bottom (where it’s less noticeable). Then all those new bits needed painting.
There was a fair bit of work involved, and the time required was found only because all the stuff that needed doing around the house was under control: shopping, cleaning, laundry, cooking, etc. It was therefore very satisfying to be able to get out there yesterday and bring the project so close to completion.
It may seem like an obvious approach, but dividing activities between "need" and "want" can be an effective way to get the minions to cooperate around the house. “Oh, you want to sit on the couch and watch Phantom of the Opera this afternoon? Well, you’re going to need clean clothes on Monday, so you can watch the movie when your clothes are folded and put away.” It doesn’t hurt to lead by example, either: “Well, I want to sit on the couch and watch a movie too, but I won’t be doing it before I’ve finished these dishes, because later on we'll need clean things to cook with.”
It’s a less crude technique than "carrot-and-stick", and has the added attraction of making them feel like they've earned their leisure. (We run "carrot-and-stick" and "need/want" concurrently in the Good Plates household, since the payment of pocket money is contingent on finishing jobs.)
Anyway, now that we’re nearly finished the Tardis, my mind is turning to the next “want” project. I was looking around the shed yesterday and I reckon I’ve identified almost all the materials necessary to build an insulated homebrew box. Now I just have to make the time.
Of course, if we had a functional Tardis, that wouldn’t be a problem!