The Nasty Side of the Prep Work

It’s invigorating to think of new things, have fun ideas, and be able to execute them. As I have done all sorts of projects over the years – personal, professional, artistic and construction – I have learned that the prep work is the most important part. I enjoy updating and changing things, well let me correct that. I love the ideas and the creativity of it all, the prep work can be a bear!

We had a carpenter build shelves for our gallery and studio space. He spent four days getting it all done. It took him a day and a half simply measuring and cutting all the pieces. When I stopped by to check on things he commented about how long it takes to prep the area and cut the pieces. He noted that the prep work is the hardest part, but the most important part. It takes the largest part of any project, and he noted that he knows it wi worth the effort.

I spent a large portion of my morning sanding the new shelves shelves. It was tedious work and required a lot of sanding in tight spaces. After a little while I got tired of doing it, yet I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that to stop would ruin the project. So I kept going, switching hands and tried to stay excited about the shelves. Once I finished that task I had to vacuum and wipe down the shelves before starting to paint.

Sure I could have skipped all that prep work – primer, sanding, wiping down – and the shelves would have looked ok, I guess. The point is I know what they will look like when the job is done right. I know that I deserve a beautiful space done in the highest quality and for that to happen, the tedious prep work has got to be done right. I also know that anyone building anything knows that planning and prep work make the difference between ok and fabulous!

There is an idea in your head, on your desk, or somewhere in process and you dread the prep work. It feels like the boring part, and it can be the hardest part to get started. There are no sexy, exciting results and no one ever sees or hears about most of it. But if you don’t do it, everyone will notice. So this sand paper is a reminder that the prep work is worth the effort. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and do the work that makes everything else look fabulous. In the end you will be proud of the job you did and proud of yourself for doing it right!

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