After three days of hard work I’m almost finished preparing a garden bed. It was a hard-fought victory that taught me tips for getting work done.
We’ve had a mild winter and I looked forward to working with the temperature in the 50’s and 60’s. Last week the weather changed. It’s been in the low 40’s with overcast skies and showers.
First, I removed six yards of mulch from around a Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum sp.) and the landscape fabric underneath. There was too much mulch around the tree.
The only place to get rid of the mulch was off the property. That meant loading a wheelbarrow and pushing it up a 15 foot slope to my truck about 40 yards away.
Did I mention this was my first job of the season? My body is nowhere near conditioned yet.
This afternoon as I finished for the day the sun broke through the clouds. It was like the heavens opened up and said, “Attaboy John!”
Tips for getting work done
Get started. Even if you don’t have a plan for how to do the work. When you start a plan will form in your mind. I’m talking about a plan to complete the work, not a landscape design.
Congratulate yourself for getting started. If you the type of person, like me, who occasionally over thinks things don’t beat yourself up for lost time.
Enjoy the work. I enjoy good “clean” hard work. Digging, mulching, splitting wood, etc. I feel energized, albeit exhausted, after a days work.
Break the job into manageable pieces. I set a goal for each day. My first day on most jobs the goal is to get to the job and get started. Once I’m working a plan will form (See step 1). The second day my goal was to clean up the mulch under the Japanese Maple. The third day my goal was to finish preparing the bed. By the third day I gained momentum and prepared another bed.
Take a break if you need one. Nothing saps productivity like rushing through a job or stressing about a deadline. It may seem counter productive but you’ll notice big dividends from a break.
Wear comfortable shoes. A landscaper is only as good as his or her footwear. If your shoes are heavy you’ll move slowly. If your feet are wet your day will be miserable. Some days I bring a couple pair of shoes and a heavy and light weight sweatshirt. The first two days I wore heavy insulated steel toe boots. When the sun broke I put my lightweight Muck Boots on and felt like I could fly. I wear the lightest shoes I can. The exception is when I need steel toes for safety.
You started the job. You’re going to finish it. That’s all that matters.
I hope these tips for getting work done will help you get through your next job. Get out there and have fun!