Happiness Hack: Power Hour - Finally Tackling the Timeless To-Do List

* Reprinted with permission from the Boozy Gardener. Originally published September 2018.

I moved into my current house over two years ago. The place had just been gutted and remodeled, so it was clean and in good condition. There were a few things that still needed done, though. I remember making a to-do list with these two tasks at the top:

1. Scrape and paint railing

2. Scrape and paint window frames

Friends, over two years later, those items still remain on the Boozy Gardener's to-do list, and other jobs have joined them. Here's my current list, and I can tell you that I have added some since I took this screenshot.

Can we all take a moment to appreciate the fact that at least my cell phone battery is fully charged?

Why is it so hard for me to cross these items off my list? I create daily to-do lists and rarely make it to the end of the day without finishing everything. Thus, the fact that these jobs have sat on my digital list for years has driven the Boozy Gardener to drink cheap Aldi wine on more than one occasion.

I may finally have unlocked the secret, though. I recently embarked on a long road trip, which gave me a chance to listen to back episodes of my favorite podcast 'Happier with Gretchen Rubin' (and her sister Elizabeth Craft). Way back in Episode 6, Liz and Gretchen's "Try this at home" involved giving yourself a weekly "Power Hour" during which you tackled the timeless to-do list. It was based on Gretchen's theory that something that can be done at any time is done at no time (I don't think truer words have ever been uttered).

I set my first Power Hour for Labor Day and made a plan to do one every Saturday or Sunday, depending on my schedule. I knew some of these tasks would span multiple Power Hours (the shed, the great photo album project, which has been ongoing for over 5 years), but at least I would have a designated time each week set aside to work on this stuff.

For my first Power Hour, I knew I wanted to complete the two things that a) were relatively simple, and b) have been driving me insane for well over a year. My mom also needed me to scan something for her, so I enlisted her help in measuring my walls for an upcoming painting project (a new addition to the list). We had a blast, which leads me to my first Power Hour tip. If you can, invite a friend over to knock out some tasks with you. It makes the work go quicker, and you can use the time to catch-up, which is imperative for maintaining strong relationships with your loved ones (the true key to happiness).

After I bid Mom ado, I decided to fix the tile in my kitchen. To provide some necessary backstory, I accidentally tore the tile out from under the edgers at least a year-and-a-half ago while stupidly attempting to move a large, heavy desk out of my spare room. I approximated that fixing the tile would take 15 minutes (I've spent at least 90 hours playing Farm Heroes over that same time period), but it never seemed to get done.

I've hid this under a dog fence since February 2017. I am beyond embarrassed.

As predicted, it took approximately 15-20 minutes to fix the tile (while I set my alarm for an hour so I would know when it was quitting time, I did not clock myself on individual tasks).

I still need to replace the edger that I bent, but that involves a trip to Lowe's, which is NOT on the schedule for today (comment below if you have a better idea; I tried to pound a nail through it, but aluminum is surprisingly sturdy).

Even with the bent edger, I'm still beyond pleased that my tile is back where it belongs. I even swept!

Let's pretend I didn't crack the wooden edger--I'm going to paint soon anyway, remember?

After fixing the tile, I still had plenty of time, so I decided to tackle the torn carpet in my bedroom.

To fill you in, my furnace (which will be replaced in October) died in the middle of a cold January (it was also 2017 - as you can see, that was a rough year for me). When Fix-it Tim, my furnace man, came to get Old Bessie blowing heat again, I locked my three dogs in the bedroom; something my youngest did not appreciate.

Ilsa decimated the carpeting behind the door. Not a big deal, since I had carpeting to replace the hole, which I planned on doing ASAP. Fast-forward to September 2018, a mere 20 months later...

I think the torn carpet would have looked better without the massive roll of carpet beside it.

I was a bit nervous about this task as, a) I had already sort of messed up the tile project, and b) I didn't have the proper tools. I had lots of extra carpet, though, 35 minutes, and a pair of scissors, so I decided to give it a go.

Just 15 minutes later, I had successfully fixed my carpeting.

I have to confess, the Boozy Gardener is a little impressed with herself. If you get down and look closely you will see that the carpet definitely isn't perfect, but I would have to ask why you're crawling around in my corners looking at the flooring. That's kind of an odd way to treat your hostess.

I am overjoyed by how much better my carpeting and tile look, and I had a spare 20 minutes after knocking out these tasks, so I decided to research my next Power Hour project - installing my Nest. That's a later blog entry, though.

So would I recommend everyone implement a Power Hour? Enthusiastically, yes! Had I not instituted my own Power Hour, I have 0 confidence that I ever would have fixed my tile or carpeting until it was time to move, and I had to remodel my house to sell it. Instead, I get to enjoy the efforts of my labors instead of the next inhabitants.

Also, since I completed these jobs without totally destroying my house, my confidence increased. I now feel energized and ready to take on new projects.

Have you tried a Power Hour? If so, comment below!

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