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DIY A Favor, Pay Someone Else To Do It

ToolsHave you ever started out a project thinking you can do it cheap and better if you did it yourself instead of buying the manufactured product or paying someone else to do it?  The attraction of DIY is that it seems like your spending less money because instead of a single large outlay of cash at one time, your buying smaller parts separately.  The siren of the DIY project is “I’ll be able to do so much more if I do myself.”  That rarely turns to be reality.  Without going into how much your time is worth, lets look at the simple truth of the first time you do something, your going to suck at it.  But when you DIY, it’s usally the first and only time your going to do it.  I’m purposely leaving out the nature of the DIY project because I’m talking more about the mental outlook of the person doing the project than the project itself.

Of course a “professional” can foul up a project just as good as DIYer but if you’ve done your home work with regards to finding the right person and thinking through what you really want to accomplish the chances are better that you’ll be happier in the long with the goal you are trying to achieve rather than a basement full parts or a partially working widget that your too emotionally and fiscally indebted to, to quit.

Too often we break down goals into the steps necessary to accomplish a single task without regards to the larger picture.  I try to approach new projects with the following goals in mind:

  • Can I do it for free? Using only tools and material I already own, can I complete this project or get it to a useful stage?
  • Is it worth the effort? 1 week, 6 months, 2 years from now will I care?  When you have an idea in your head it can feel like it is the most important task ahead of you only to fall by the wayside very quickly when new things come up.  Based on the amount of work and effort this project will take, will you care about in a week, a month or a year from now?
  • Can I accomplish this goal another way? I may not the have the right products to finish the project completely, but can I use what I already have to get an idea of how useful the finished project will be?  There might be some product out there that you think you need to buy for this project, but can you really do the job, albeit less efficiently or less visually appealing with items you already paid for?
  • Am I thinking about what I can do, or what I will do? When an idea first pops into our head we can make all these grand leaps of how great the finished project will be.  Try to think of what you will have when your done with the project, not what you think you will have after 2-3 more DIY projects you think you could build off of this one.
  • What if I bought it or paid someone to do it? Buying ready made items or paying professionals to do certain tasks can actually end up being more of a learning experience than trying to do it yourself.

Not all of these questions can be answered but they can lead you closer to your goal.  Think about the things you have bought but no longer care about.  They seemed like they would be really useful when you bought them, but now your wondering why you ever spent the money.  By definition, everything we buy, we thought had a value.  But who amongst us can say they have nothing in there garage, basement, or attic that they can leave with out?  That’s what I think, leave a comment with your ideas on the subject.

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