Two crucial tips for any project.


PoppyMy beloved grandfather, Robert Roy Corcoran, was an amazing craftsman.  An engineer by trade, as a young man, he was a rigger on boats. He could craft anything from timber, and was a skilled problem solver. I get a little puffy (and teary) thinking of him.

My Dad recently reminded me of two things Poppy taught him very early on:

  1. Keep your feet clear
  2. leave the finished job behind you.

I asked Dad what Poppy meant:

You’re moving furniture to create more space.  You trip on items that are in the way, or they impede your ability to move freely.  Keep your feet clear! Common sense, but easy to forget when you are in the ‘creating’ head space.

You’re fixing the window sash cord, and you notice you need to paint the front door. Poppy’s advice: don’t think about painting!  Finish the window repair, then leave the finished job behind you. Now start the new task or project.

Many times Dad also spoke of Poppy’s organising skills. He once came to our home to help Dad build a fence.  As he unloaded the trailer, Dad noticed he laid out everything in order of construction: the post digger, the posts, the rails, the pickets. Everything was painted too, and ready to go.  Dad was in awe!  You can imagine how fast that fence went up.

While we’re talking grandparents, we can’t ignore Margaret Mary Corcoran who would wash bowls, spoons, chopping boards etc as she cooked, so there was no after meal mess to deal with, only the plates we ate from. I still do this today.

Sweet Robert Roy!  Thanks for your organisational gifts.  Who in your life has helped you with some clever tips and tricks?

6 responses to “Two crucial tips for any project.

  1. I think your Poppy is spot on about doing one thing at a time. ‘Multi-tasking’ is overrated; a physical manifestation of our splintered attention.

    • Yes! And even when you’re practiced and good at multitasking (and I am) I am all too aware that I usually have way too much going on. Less = more!! Thanks for your lovely words, Olivia.

  2. I am so guilty of not doing the first, but I do do the second. I loathe washing up but by doing it as I go there’s not a horrid pile at the end. Need to stop getting distracted and finish tasks one at a time. It’s so much more efficient.

  3. My grandmother taught me tips on spelling: eg. stationery (e for envelopes) and stationary (a for automobile) and about keeping lists – I’m a queen at list keeping

  4. My lovely Greek friend’s Mum’s saying was, The washing up, done straight after dinner or the party, does its’ self!

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