Leadership DIY

Time to Read – Five seconds for the first line, another five, and so on…

My wife Rosalind knew her outcome – to install a sprinkler system for our hanging plants.

She knew where she was when she started – her husband is useless at DIY, hates DIY and is probably the worst choice of person to do DIY.

What to do?

This is what happened:

She said to me “Darling, would you be good enough to drill a hole in the outside wall for me – I know you don’t like DIY, but I really need this done, please”

I thought ok, what’s one hole, even I can do that. After all, she did the measuring, she told me where to drill, nothing could go wrong – and if it did, it would be her fault, not mine.

So, I drilled a hole.

Then she said “while you are here, could you push this rawlplug in please?

I did, each time receiving specific praise…

…Until, an hour later, we had a complete sprinkler system.

I kind of knew what she was up to – but the idea of “David – could you install a new sprinkler system” would have scared the hell out of me, and had me suddenly having a very sore back.

By breaking the project down to clear, simple, understandable specific actions, Rosalind made it easier for a simple chap like me, removed my excuses. And, by the way, made it a lot of fun.

Don’t eat an elephant; break it down into manageable, digestible chunks.

And when visitors come to our home, and notice our sprinklers coming on, I say “I did that.”

Except on days when it goes wrong, in which case, of course, it was Rosalind.

With my love

And best wishes



  • Sue

    You have discovered ‘our’ secret, this is how all wives ‘persuade’ their husbands to do jobs around the house.

  • What a very helpful post. I am tempted to forward it to my wife, but then again… On a serious note, there is no doubt that some people can feel very overwhelmed by the enormity of a task or a goal. Or rather, its perceived enormity. This is how I feel when asked to put up a curtain pole, for example. So the technique of breaking it down into smaller, achievable steps can work wonders.

    Your wife sounds fantastic, as is anyone who takes away our excuses for under-performance, which is, after all, what the best leaders and coaches do, IMO.

    However I have also discovered that if I put off DIY for long enough, my wife will eventually ask her Dad to do it, and a mightily impressive job he will make of it as well.

    best, D

  • I love it!
    I have a long list of jobs (for my husband) that have been put off from one week to the next. I think things may be changing in our household.
    Please say a big thank you to your wife from me x

  • Tony Weeks

    Women should take heed too!
    When driving into a car park space, don’t think of getting the car into the space in one hit, think of the maneuverings, backward and forward, in and out, back and forth. Edge in, slowly.

  • Francis Greve

    Sometimes tasks do seem huge at the outset and collecting little achievements on the way to reaching that end goal is so rewarding.
    Winning a world championship over a series of meetings/races/events must seem the same.
    Winning a league season is the same. Concentrate on every games, every minute, every point.
    Take care of the pennies and the pounds take care of themselves.

  • Rakesh Noah

    The pennies and pounds line is so tru. I do that. I’m loaded!

  • Jas

    Great article! Sometimes it is easy to forget the basic skills – the art is just to remember them!!

  • Harry Peake

    DIY! Hate that. But enjoyed article. Just shows it can be done in bite-sized chunks!

  • Neil C

    Attacking a task in bite-size chunks is a great way to tackle them.
    Sometimes i think about what it is I have to get through of a day and it scares me.
    Once you start dissecting the really important stuff away from the not so important the tasks become that little bit easier.

  • Ryan Norris

    Absolutely, it makes the big tasks so much easier.

  • Sam Jacob

    It all comes down to procrastination.
    You tend to do the jobs you don’t like doing, last. Best to just get on with the hard ones first, get them out of the way, then do the others. That way it is easier.
    It’s certainly making light work of tasks!

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