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DIY or NOT DIY…That is the Question

Got a project you need done around the house? Perhaps a shelf that needs building, some plumbing repairs, or just a thorough cleaning? Often, working on a project or getting to work scrubbing a kitchen can be a good way to relax, even work off some stress. But there are other times when it might make sense to ask, “Is this something I really want to do myself?”

Time is one of our most precious commodities. If we have a skill that pays by the hour, time actually does turn into income! But aside from monetary value, time is what we give to others when we spend time with them. Time is also what we give ourselves when we need some self-care, or just to indulge in something we love rather than scrubbing or repairing. 

So next time you are looking at a DIY project or task, consider the following:

  • What is your time and attention worth? If you have to spend hours doing something that could be spent doing something of more value in your life (e.g. visiting a friend, attending a child’s hockey game, getting some physical exercise), then maybe it makes more sense to hire someone else to do it.
  • Are you really the best person to be doing this job? Maybe you are really good at doing plumbing (and you enjoy it), but if this is not the case, your DIY efforts could end up costing even more. We’ve all seen TV shows where someone tries to “fix” a pipe and ends up flooding the room.
  • There are lots of people who actually need income from part time work. It could be someone who can only work part time, or perhaps a student. You aren’t throwing money away, but helping someone out. 
  • You can’t be everywhere at once. One wise person calculated that parents have about 940 Saturdays from the time their child is born and the day they turn 18. How are you going to spend those Saturdays? 
  • What is going to make you happy? Saving a few dollars or getting a job done by freeing up some time? Researchers who study happiness have found that spending money on a cleaning service delivers more happiness than buying material goods. If you wonder if this is true, try giving a friend a cleaning service as a gift – they likely will be thrilled! 

Perhaps the best question to start with is an estimate of the time involved, sometimes, that means figuring out what you can and can’t do. If you can commit a couple of hours to a project before you set it aside, then perhaps it is worth doing it yourself. But if it starts to drag into the next day and the results aren’t what you had hoped, time to call in the experts and give yourself a break!