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Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/12/20 10:45 p.m.

There was a piece in the Hemmings Daily email today (or yesterday) about how the author was musing about his lack of progress on his project cars.  And mentioned a discussion he had about making a commitment to spend 30 minutes a day in the shop. For 30 days. Set a timer for 30 minutes. No more. No less.  Just to do something. It may not be much. But just something. Make progress.

So as I stare at the cluttered mess that is my garage, I try to put aside the overwhelming sense of the amount of work I have ahead of me. But with a renewed need to get the TDI that hasn't moved off the lift in 6+ years accessible, I set the timer and got to work.

Day 1.

Let's see... I've been tripping over this damn jig-saw for months. Let's finally put it away. Done.

Put away a few other tools that have been bothering me.

Looked at a few boxes under the TDI. Oh... the new turbo for the car... doh... and a box of LED strip lights I bought who knows how long ago after reading a GRM thread... the latter can go in the attic with the other lights to be installed somewhere.

Finally, the new Grand Caravan hitch receiver, which is a big box along the wall that is really in the way. Let's unbox it and cut the box up for recycling. Done.

And with that, my 30 minutes were done.

Now to make sure Day 2 happens tomorrow (which is obviously the point of this thread wink )

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
5/12/20 11:17 p.m.

I like this.

I need to clear out my garage. I've been off work for two months, barely touched it. I have 11 days left until I start back.

I have done a lot of yard work, put in some beds, planted blueberries and started some sunflowers.

I've also been the househusband, keeping up with the laundry, baking a lot, and have had dinner on the table every night.

I don't feel too guilty, but I still don't have room for working on a car inside the garage.

bearmtnmartin GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
5/12/20 11:38 p.m.

I am very fortunate to have the ability to keep picking away at things. If I don't go to the shop for a few days or weeks I do not stress because I want to enjoy being there and I know I will always get to a point where I am re-motivated.  And sometimes I go out, look around and go back to the house. It's a hobby and it has to be fun.


¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
5/13/20 5:52 a.m.

This is a good plan.  If I may modify the Hemmings suggestion of "no more, no less" slightly- if you're on a roll with less than 10 minutes to go, turn that timer off and keep getting E36 M3 done.

glueguy (Forum Supporter)
glueguy (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Dork
5/13/20 6:02 a.m.

Large areas of chaos can be the barrier to getting started.  Whenever I have to clean/organize, whether it's house cleaning or shop or desk space, I always do it by starting in one spot and working 360 degrees around the space.  Yes, I may move clutter from here over to there if that's where it will end up, but then when I get to it to clean the space it will be close to its real home.  This keeps from starting in one area, then addressing the move-to spot and getting overwhelmed.

Couple this with the 30 minutes concept and you'll get a E36 M3load done.



¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
5/13/20 6:14 a.m.
bearmtnmartin said:

It's a hobby and it has to be fun.

I want to state ahead of time that if it works this way for you, or anyone else who reads this, that's awesome and you should keep doing what you're doing.

But while the above statement is most likely a wonderful and healthy way to look at things, if I really believed it I would get next to nothing done, ever.  No rallying, no motorcycles, none of the stuff I'm so glad I did.  It's a hobby, the end result of your projects should be fun, but the work itself is frequently a bad time- you'll get filthy, you'll get minor injuries, have to buy things you hadn't planned on, etc. and a lot of that won't be fun.

It's a hobby and there's a reason you started or purchased that project in the first place, a goal or an imagined end result- and getting to that point you had imagined will be fun.  To get to the fun you have to commit to the work first, even if it isn't fun.

5/13/20 6:15 a.m.

The shop is where I go for a win.

I like to know what task I am going to do when I go out. I have a plan or two for how I might pull it off and some kind of a timeline to get it done.  Over the years as life has evolved that timeframe has been anywhere from an hour a week to 4 hours per day once a week.

More often than not, I pull it off and get that sense of well being that we all want from accomplishment. Then I loiter for a while basking in that feeling and plot the next line item and maybe have a beer or three. 

Repeat until car leaves shop.

It is not a very efficient way to get stuff done because I stop after the win rather than plow on to the next ten things on the list, but it serves a purpose.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/13/20 6:55 a.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:

This is a good plan.  If I may modify the Hemmings suggestion of "no more, no less" slightly- if you're on a roll with less than 10 minutes to go, turn that timer off and keep getting E36 M3 done.

Well, I actually did go over my 30 min allotment.  The timer went off while I was in the middle of cutting up the box, so I kept going until that task was finished. But one of the comments in the article about the 30 min limit is it seems to keep you motivated towards the next session vs. a potential premature burnout.

glueguy (Forum Supporter)
glueguy (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Dork
5/13/20 7:16 a.m.

This "30 minutes, no more" plan is also an effective way to attack your email.  30 minutes from the top of most recent.  Then 30 minutes from the bottom to keep things from becoming too stale.  Keeping at either one will lead to exhaustion and burnout.  Put 30 minutes of desk tasks, notes, walking around in the middle and just keep attacking the work in these 90 minutes segments.


mfennell Reader
5/13/20 7:51 a.m.

I did a bunch of work to my Golf Sportwagen last month.  Turbo, clutch, struts, shocks, springs, front brakes.  It's AWD, so the clutch and turbo were extra fun.  Anyway, during the week I had a 'do 1 thing' plan every morning between getting my daughter up and eating breakfast.  Something I could bite off in 15 minutes.  It really kept the project moving and had the additional benefit that if I ran into a problem, rather than get frustrated, I'd just go eat breakfast and think about it some more or do some extra research.  That's how I managed not to break a single plastic connector on the whole car.  :)


Toyman01 (Forum Supporter)
Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/13/20 8:09 a.m.

I've been trying to spend at least an hour a day in the shop to curb my inherent laziness. I have gotten in the bad habit of getting home and sitting on the porch for an hour or two. If I do that, I'm done for the night. My current plan is to walk from the truck to the shop instead of the truck to the porch. It seems to be working. 

This is one of the reasons I brought the lathe home. 


jimbob_racing Dork
5/13/20 8:50 a.m.

Great idea. I'm totally going to start this 30/30 challenge for managing my garage time. I also have some basement projects on my list so I'm spend 30 minutes a day there as well.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/13/20 8:50 a.m.

I suppose some pictures would help to show the task I have created for myself...

After taking this picture, I did get the cardboard into the recycling bin while the garage door was open.

And here we have the pile of crap that has accumulated under the TDI over the past 6 years...

preach GRM+ Memberand Reader
5/13/20 8:53 a.m.

I need to do this so bad.

jfryjfry (Forum Supporter)
jfryjfry (Forum Supporter) Dork
5/13/20 8:56 a.m.

I don't think I would limit myself to 30, especially if it is fun or enjoyable or you are making progress. 

just don't do less than!


also, think vertical. Storage racks and shelves are the ticket.  
try and find some metal recyclers near you.  They always have shelves and cabinets for cheap. 


i just sold a large metal table for $150 that I bought for $40 from my local junk guy. 

he has a bunch of heavy metal racks that he is selling really cheap.  I don't need them or I would be all over it. 

cabinets are huge as well for clearing out clutter.  
I just spent 4 days building a table to hold cabinets and tools and it cleared out about 30 square feet of junk.  It's amazing. 

Toyman01 (Forum Supporter)
Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/13/20 8:59 a.m.

In reply to Ian F (Forum Supporter) :

I have been there recently. I took a Saturday and cleaned because it got to the point I couldn't move in there. No before pictures, but this is what I ended up with after moving a gantry crane and a 16" lathe in. The G35 is at least mobile so I can move it to have a work space. 


¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
5/13/20 9:12 a.m.

On the shelf/cabinet note, these are the craigslist ads for that industrial place that's up by me: https://allentown.craigslist.org/search/sss?userid=31966587

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/13/20 9:27 a.m.

It's not really apparent in these pictures, but I already have a number of cabinets on the walls.  Mainly in the back on each side of the TDI.  They are old steel kitchen cabinets installed by the previous home owner.  I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with them.  They are nice for keeping stuff clean and out of sight, but they also encroach into the work space, which due to this being a one-bay wide garage is rather limited. 

There are two Gladiator cabinets on the left side (under the Dewalt radio). While these are great for storage, they are deep and make working next to them a pain.  I have a similar issue with the Craftsman tool box I've had for years on the opposite side.  Because the foundation wall is a few inches deeper than the finished wall, everything along the walls extends into the work area a few inches more than I'd like. And with the limited width I have to work in, those few inches on each side of the garage add up.  

I have a plan once the GT6 is mobile again to replace the metal shelves with something custom built that is fixed to the wall and not as deep - just deep enough for say 1 gallon antifreeze and oil containers.  That should also help with elbow room when working on the cars.

In reality, my long term plan is to clear as much out of the garage as possible so I have more room to work. Less used tools can be stored in the shed, basement and attic rather than in the garage.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/13/20 9:31 a.m.

In reply to Ian F (Forum Supporter) :

You know I've never felt like lifts made repair work that much easier for me, but I really like the idea of how much extra crap you can store underneath them!

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/13/20 9:38 a.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

Yes... lifts can be a double-edge sword like that.  But I generally believe "under" is better than "on top of" so pick your poison.

These pictures might make it clearer why I am always such a proponent of scissor lifts.  No other type of lift would really work in my garage.  

And my back thanks me every time I need to do any work on the GT6 or Spitfire when it's on the lift and I'm not hunched over or bent over on my head.  Just raising the car up a foot or two for any task makes life easier.

glueguy (Forum Supporter)
glueguy (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Dork
5/13/20 10:12 a.m.

In reply to jimbob_racing :

Great picture as example.  To me, if you take the gas can area as 1 day, under the window 1 day, toolbox shelf 1 day, three trash cans 1 day...  and don't do any more than that at a time - really address the space and commit to throwing stuff out as you get to it - in 10 working sessions this will be totally different.  It's a much different mentality than oh E36 M3, I need to clean *everything*.

5/13/20 10:31 a.m.

In reply to Ian F (Forum Supporter) :

I would find that very demoralizing if it were my shop. The "ownership of projects keeping me from working on projects" is a vicious cycle. Hence the root of my one "project" car, one "toy driver" and one "go to work" car. I become overwhelmed otherwise.

 I want to start a new project, so something has to shift....You need an MGB GT to add to that "Collection"? figure if I keep asking you will bite someday! wink


The0retical (Forum Supporter)
The0retical (Forum Supporter) UberDork
5/13/20 10:41 a.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:

On the shelf/cabinet note, these are the craigslist ads for that industrial place that's up by me: https://allentown.craigslist.org/search/sss?userid=31966587

Oh man that's slightly closer than going to to MB Glick in Fleetwood. Close enough that I could actually go after work whenever I start working out of the office again. I'll have to keep an eye on both.

hobiercr (FS)
hobiercr (FS) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
5/13/20 10:51 a.m.

I like this idea and have tried to start something similar. My issue is that 30 minutes in the shop really means an hour +. Change into shop clothes, work in shop for ~30 minutes, take shower (because Florida), back to regularly scheduled program.

Every time I get an area cleaned up I feel great so there is that motivation to continue.

dculberson (Forum Supporter)
dculberson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/13/20 11:05 a.m.

I started an intensive cleaning in the shop in April. It's been going pretty well. I found that if I sell something I'm more likely to let it go than just junking it, so I've been listing more $10 items than usual. I like the 30 minute plan. I usually spend more than 30 minutes in the shop but I could say the first 30 minutes is cleaning only or something.

ive managed to clean out one room pretty well and freed up a couple big drawers and a shelf or two. I've sold some stuff that I had for 20+ years. It felt pretty good. Letting it go hurt but not as bad as throwing it in the trash or recycling it. I think it's up to about $300 in stuff sold at this point. Ranging from $9 to $90 in value. 

Also I posted about it previously but I got some permanent containers for my used car fluids and it looks and feels so much better. 

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