Today we're going to talk you through steps that you can take to minimise your freak out and generally feel great when working through your project.
Rebeka: Hi, welcome back. I'm Rebekah from BuildHer Collective. Today, we've got a, well really, it's something that comes up a lot. It's the overwhelm and how to avoid overwhelm when you're doing your building project.
Kribashni: It's probably one of the most common things we hear from women who are thinking about building or who are currently building or thinking about renovating. They feel like the whole thing is a bit overwhelming. I think that's okay when we're doing something we haven't done before.
Rebeka: Yes. We'll give you some tangible steps that you can put in place, or things to think about ahead of time, so that you know that you're not going to get overwhelmed or if you do go through that emotional overwhelm, at least you know that, "It's going to be like this forever".
Kribashni: Stick with us, and we're going to get into it in a second.
Rebeka: Hi, I'm Rebekah
Kribashni: I'm Kribashni.
Rebeka: Welcome to Building With BuildHer.
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Rebeka: Super fun.
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Rebeka: We really like to call the overwhelm the Freak out Factor.
Kribashni: Because we have it all the time, just like you.
Rebeka: Yes, I mean, basically, I know, Kribashni, you got into this really recently, which is why we're doing this, is because three weeks before she's about to have a baby, I'm like, "You know what? We should renovate your bathroom." She was like, "Okay. Yes, I've been thinking about it for about three years. Maybe it is time we do it".
Kribashni: Three weeks before I have a baby.
Rebeka: "If I don't' do it now, I'll never do it".
Rebeka: Then basically, we said about doing this renovation for her. There was just a period of time because all the decisions needed to be made in all that three days, which is fine but this is a home that you live in, that your family's in, and then you had what, like 20 relatives descending on you at one time, the following day. [laughs]
Kribashni: Let's just say that was a pretty important deadline.
Rebeka: Yes. You had what came up as a freak out because I was like, "Are you okay?", she's like, "I think I'm freaking out of it".
Kribashni: I was.
Kribashni: Well, it just dawned on me that I'm going to have to make really be okay with a lot of these decisions right now. I felt like, although we've been looking at the things for about a week, and sometimes, we can make decisions really quickly, I just felt like, "Oh, my God, I need to make all these decisions. I need to be okay with these decisions. I'm going to live with them for quite a while. Have I really thought about everything?".
Rebeka: I probably threw a spanner in the way, because I'm like, "Let's come up with two schemes and see who wants to-- and get the public to vote on it. If you're not on our Instagram, you can't join us for an Instagram account, because occasionally we do stupid things like, would you like Kribashni to have these green leafy bathroom or these Pascoe pink bathrooms?
Kribashni: No, I think it's a little bit more than three weeks before the baby's coming. I think we've got it in there about four weeks with a bit of a contingency. Well, we're cutting it fine, weren't we?
Rebeka: We were cutting it fine for your 20 relatives.
What that led us to is why are you freaking out and really, what are the things that we tell people to avoid when they're doing the renovation?
Kribashni: Then sometimes freaking out is okay. We do this all the time. We've got loads of experience, we know how to plan the project, we know how to execute the project. Yet it's okay that we can also freak out because these are big decisions that we making.
Rebeka: It's an emotional project. It's an emotional process. It should be emotional and we should be okay with that. One of the things that I always find really interesting is because I renovate and develop for profit, people think that I come at it with a really masculine brain, and it doesn't affect me, that we're going through the process. Whilst I see what they're saying, and I can go through it really level, I think, actually, there's beauty in the emotions, when we go through it because we run at things really hard.
We're really trying to put a really beautiful emotional journey through the home. It also means that as I'm doing the project, there are emotional points. I know, we run it very hard to the finish line, and then we'll get it photographed. From the photographed point, we're then open to the public. For five weeks, I get feedback on how well or badly I've done, there are no actions I can then take to change that.
Kribashni: No, and that's pretty vulnerable.
Rebeka: Yes, that's really vulnerable, so be nice to me.
Kribashni: Well, and also just appreciate it when someone is putting something out, there is a vulnerable moment. It is actually an essence of a little bit of who they are and what their style is and what they love about their home.
Rebeka: By the time you're seeing this, we actually have a house on the market. Again, on Instagram, so check it out, like it, feel free to Comment through, but be nice.
Rebeka: Why are we freaking out? I mean, the one thing that comes back to me all the time is that we are so busy. As a culture, we're busy. I mean, it's a rule, kind of in our home, that we don't use a busy word in it because it's really blank. "How are you?" "Busy, yes, we're all busy.
We're so busy, that it's boring to be busy. What it means is that we're already filled in our entire timeframe in our schedules, we've got kids, we've got family, we've got work, we've got friendships, we've got people, we've got learning, we've got all these things that are already happening.
Then we want to cram in 15 hours a week to manage projects and then a project which is going to cost us probably more money than we're ever going to spend again or ever have spent. We're going to have to live with the consequences and raise our family or have our friends around in the space and demonstrate what we've done for 5, 10 years. Is it any wonder?
Kribashni: I guess it's that one little thing. I think you were explained to me once before, like the iceberg analogy. It's that one little thing sometimes that will just send us over the edge. Sometimes it's okay to go, "Look, these all the things I have going on in my life, I am really busy. What can go or what can I move so that I can make time for myself and I can make time for this renovation?".
Rebeka: Yes, be kind to future self.
Rebeka: Future myself has so much time in my brain. Present self is always swamped.
Kribashni: I love that. Be kind of future self, that's great.
Kribashni: Well, it just makes sense. We have a few templates and checklists that we have included. One of the things that we actually prompt our BuildHers to think about is that the support structure that you have in place. Who do you have to really help you when you are going to be embarking on this renovation? You need to find those 15 hours a week because we don't all have unlimited time.
Rebeka: What process can you set up? For me to run my day properly, [crosstalk] I get up at five o'clock, and I will walk and on my walk, I'm centering myself and I'm preparing for the day and then I can go. I've already done that pre-thinking and there's no confusion. If I sleep till seven, I'm on the fly all day. Little things like that. That is an extra 10 hours a week that I have to plan.
Kribashni: Get yourself mentally prepared for what you have to achieve on that day. Everyone has a different technique or a different scenario that they like to put in place to really manage their time. Some of us are really great with managing time.
Rebeka: You're much better than I am.
Kribashni: Or really bad. Well, I might prioritize my sleep but sometimes what I like to do is write a list before I go to bed of the things that I really have to get done the next day. Sometimes we have good days and sometimes we have bad days. That's just life. That's okay. How do we manage ourselves around?
One of the things I think is really, really important is actually setting our own expectations about how long things take, particularly in building and renovating.
We often speak to a lot of women who come to us and they said, "Oh, I started this six months ago, and I want it to be finished by now. We thought it'd be really interesting to share with you a little bit about how long these certain phases can take.
Rebeka: Design in its own right can take up to two years.
Kribashni: Yes, and that's totally reasonable.
Rebeka: I've known people that have taken longer. A realistic way is to say two years. If I'm doing design on a project, and this is just a project and I'm helping on getting it done, it still takes me three months.
Kribashni: How much is included in that design phase could be getting quotes from draftees and architects, figuring out what site you might want to buy or whether you're going to stay at home or leave. It could be working out with the council about whether you need a planning permit or not.
Rebeka: It could be going to counsel, that's right. Sitting through the council, it could be doing VCard, objections.
Even if you have a straightforward plan, you've got to be comfortable with this decision because it's so much easier to change a line on a plan than it is to change it when you're in mid-process. The thing is, you need to be 100% clear and happy with this field because once it starts to get going, the emotions kick in. Do you find that?
Kribashni: I do find that and I also find that all those things can happen before you even get to the ins and outs of our floor plan or the ins and outs of the design of our home or house or development. Whatever it may be, and then we have to start thinking on a whole different level. It's like, we start thinking from big picture and we have to drill ourselves down to a little bit more detail and drill ourselves down to a little bit more detail. That process really needs time to be refined.
Rebeka: Finding the right designer, architect, draft person is such a skill. Really, you need to be writing documents, which show what you want and demonstrate what your outcome is because the one thing we always say is, you need to be in control of this process.
If you're not in control of the process, no one else will or the process will take control of you. Then you will feel overwhelmed and out of sync because other people are dragging you in the direction that they want you to go rather than you controlling the outline of this.
Just because your sister used this architect or your brother or your neighbor or your next door, whoever it is doesn't mean that they're right for you. It's really a process to narrow down based on your budget and your ascetic who's going to be that right designer because it's not something that you can get on quotes either, because I can have two quotes, one $5,000 more than the other, or even two quotes both at $5,000, for example. When it comes to a designer, the outcome will be vastly different, depending on who's doing that design.
Kribashni: They may require different time requirements. One quote might be more expensive, but they might be able to work through a design process because they have more staff in a much shorter period of time. Another quote might be a little bit cheaper, but they may be one person who's working on one project or several projects, and they might need longer. We really think that planning and design phase can go anywhere from six months to two years.
The next step is really thinking about how long does it take to actually construct or get ready for construction.
Rebeka: Yes. There's a get ready. The people often say, "I design and then I do--". No, no, you get ready for construction.
Kribashni: Actually, we also have to quote and get tenders as well. There is a chunk of time.
Rebeka: How is it getting ready for construction.
Kribashni: It's crazy, isn't it? When we really sit down and think about-- I mean, map out all these things, how long that whole process starts from the time we have that first inception, I'm going to renovate to the time we actually moved in.
Rebeka: That process in itself can take six, nine months. It can take five weeks, but it can take six to nine months to get those tenders in. You might be waiting for a builder because the builders aren't always available when you want them. The quotes come in at different values and different amounts and how comfortable you are with different people. Everything is really relationship-driven.
Kribashni: You need to go back to your bank and think about different funding strategies. That can take time.
Rebeka: Often people can have a life change in the middle of this process. We know, I would speak to probably one person, obviously, I speak to more people because people call in and we do consults.
I would speak to one person a month who would say, "I've spent this amount of money on the plans and we're not going to build it," or "We can't afford to build what's been expected. We're going back to the drawing board and we're going to do something else" or, "Can you run me through how much it would cost to renovate these cheaply," or change their plan because over that period of time, that two years or that three years or even that six months their family situation can change, their financial situation can change, because life isn't always a linear process like we have it mapped out in our head.
Kribashni: Surprise baby. I think I was a surprise baby.
Kribashni: Then we get into construction. Depending on what you're building or how you're renovating or whether you're extending, the construction periods all vary. There's no one answer really for what you want to do. You need to work through with your various builders about how long your particular project is going to cost.
Rebeka: Again, I've seen three months to two years.
Kribashni: It really depends on a whole lot of different variables.
Kribashni: Scope, that's right. Is it on a hill? Is it a three-storey building? Basement works? Is it really a simple refurbishment?
Rebeka: Is it kit built? so can they bring it in in one day? Is it modular, like one of our BuildHers did a modular building, really, she did it in - the guts of it in four weeks, and then backfilled for another three weeks of themselves. They only got to build it to do that. Then they put their own laboring.
There are so many different ways you can manage a project and deliver a project from designers through the who builds it, whether you're own the building, doing a blended BuildHer, which is great, or if you're using a big company or a small company. They will all have different variations. You need to be kind to yourself and allow yourself enough time to work out what is best for you and your family.
Kribashni: Really, what we're saying is, this process can take you anywhere from one year up to five years, depending on how long you need and depending on the various stages and the complexity. Give yourself, we love to say, give yourself the gift of time.
One of the things that we hear the most from women that come to us and ask us for advice is they say, "Well, I'm not starting until next year", or "I'm not thinking about until next year".
Rebeka: They don't understand. If they're saying that, they're going, "Okay, I don't want to renovate till next year", because in their head, they've worked out that they'll have the budget to do it.
They don't understand how long that design process takes and how long it takes to get ready to build and how long in advance you need to book in your builder. I think the sooner you can start down this pathway, the better.
Kribashni: You'll be in such a better place. Sometimes we have to know we have to commit a little bit of money to get started, so that we are informed that when we are trying to find that funding, we're actually trying to find the right amount.
Rebeka: Can you see how if you start in that place, it's less overwhelming because you are like, "I've got the time to work through this process".
With anyone, you are the driving factor, right? If you don't pick up the phone and move it forward each week, or each month, then it's not going to move forward. Is it better to be trying to harass someone every day for like, three months? Or is it better to give yourself a year and then follow up once a week and give someone the time to deliver the project to the value that you think it should be and give yourself the processing time to go, "Is this really what I want"? Is this right?"
Funny story about a major change that I made really late in a process. I mean, this is the thing. I have a small pile of children, but I do have a three-year-old. This particular three-year-old is a very accident-prone three-year-old. If there is a chair, he'll fall off it. Or if there's a table, he-
Kribashni: He'll jump off it.
Rebeka: -can bump his head into, he'll bump his head. If there's anything happening, he'll do whatever he can to hurt himself. The poor puppet drives me insane because I'm so fearful.
We were building a basement in our backyard, that was going to be basically a three-meter hole. Now, we started planning that when he was a babe, just a babe. That process and that fitted us for our family and what we needed. What happened was, neither Joe nor I wanted to build this because we were so fearful about what would happen to Bear. Whether he would fall in this hole.
I know it's this really random thing. We had the plans drawn up, they passed council. We went back to the drawing board and we got the basement removed because our family circumstance had changed. We'd re-evaluated and we did not want that situation.
It was actually overwhelming for us to think about how we would build and how I would keep this little munchkin from falling in a hole. It's not something that you would think of when you start building, because you can put a temporary fence. That was never going to cut it to keep me happy.
Kribashni: It's making the decision, I guess, that you can live with at the end of the day. The safe one was the right one.
Rebeka: The safe one was the right one. Even we do changes. This is a home that we're going to live for a period of time, maybe forever.
Kribashni: Famous last words
Rebeka: Basically what we're saying is it's okay to change your mind because we had the gift of time, we were able to do that even though we did it at the 11th hour, we were able to do that and really save ourselves from the emotional journey that have caused.
Kribashni: I reckon I'm probably a culprit of the opposite thing. Where sometimes what we do is we forget to move through the phases, then we try and scrunch everything into the construction. We go, "No, we really need this to be built in a really short amount of time, because this is the deadline".
Often it's life that's determining the deadline. Like for example, I'm having a baby. Now I thought about that bathroom, I've been thinking about my bathroom for about three years. Six weeks out, we decided we're going to do it.
That then meant I had a three week build period, Now that can make it even more overwhelming.
We actually have the ability to make a whole lot of choices to reduce the overwhelm that we put in our lives by giving ourselves that gift of time and by planning things and thinking about things a little bit earlier. Unfortunately, sometimes the nature of humans is that we don't do that.
Rebekah: Everyone wants everything done before Christmas.
Kribashni: That's right.
Rebeka: It's arbitrary. What happens if it's not finished by Christmas? We wait another month. It's okay, that we all want it through Christmas.
Kribashni: We'll share one bathroom, it's okay.
Rebeka: That's just one of the things. We make the decision to put time frames on other people. What are we sacrificing at that cost? Are we driving ourselves insane because every waking moment we are fielding complaints and issues and pushing people to go faster than they can actually go in? Then they're making mistakes. If they make mistakes, we've got to try and rectify that and that can be really stressful, especially if you're a perfectionist.
Kribashni: All those mistakes need time to be rectified. We don't have time. We want to give ourselves time.
The other really simple thing that we can do is understanding the sheer quality and well, not the sheer quantity of decisions that we are going to be making ahead of time and just accept that there are going to be decisions that have to be made.
Rebeka: Actually there's a place where you get to, and we call it decision fatigue. It's like you've looked at the plan so much and you've been dreaming and wanting and needing this house and then you're getting so close to having this house and then someone asks you what color screws you want and you're like, "Oh my God, I don't know".
Kribashni: I have no idea.
Rebeka: "I can't answer that question. Oh my God".These kinds of like decision catch up on you and all of a sudden you're like, I just can't answer that. "How do you want me to set out this tile?".
It's all well and good if you've got big buckets of money and have everything designed and planned out ahead of time, but sometimes it's not like that. Sometimes you don't have the budget to do that. You're kind of undertaking some of that work yourself and so you're making those decisions and it's okay to give yourself the gift of time and make decisions with a little bit later. Then knowing that's got a knock-on effect for the trades.
Kribashni: Sometimes find a friend and go, "What kind of screw should I use?". They might fish you out of the hole and that's okay.
Rebeka: One of our BuildHers just hit a little bit of a freak out moment where she's like, she's been planning this for two years and she had all her colors done and she came into the office and she was like, "I just need to go over everything 'cause I'm just, I've looked at it for so long, I can't see it anymore".
Look, that's fine. We'll just go over it like it's fine. She had done an amazing job. I think actually she'd been slightly safe so she was able to put a bit more of her personality through it and shine a bit more. We love that. She just needed permission because everything had been so built up and it gets overwhelming.
Kribashni: We try and, I don't think conform is the right word, but we want to get it right and we've invested so much time and so much love and so much energy that we really just want to get it right and having that person to be able to look at it and just go, "Does it work?". "Yes, it does". "Oh my God".
Every time I asked you about a color and you're like, "Yes, that's okay". I'm like [sighs] sense of relief.
Rebeka: Then it's not like I'm not emotionally invested like Kribashni. It's easy for me to tell other people on their projects and I've also done it a lot. It's not as hard for me to make those decisions because I've got practice and that muscle has been flexed.
To sum it up, to try and avoid getting overwhelmed, we really need to do a couple of things. We need to give ourselves the gift of time, understand the process, what has to happen when and give ourselves the gift of time to make decisions and know we're going to have to make decisions.
Give ourselves the gift of time inside our lives so we know we're busy, but what can other people take out of our load to help you? Can your mom step in and pick up the kids on a Tuesday and a Thursday so you can dedicate that time to the build?
What can come out? Is there a different system to create that space in your life? Do you have date night with your heart now where you can talk about this because otherwise, it can kind of takeover your entire life as well?
Kribashni: Our relationship agreement is really handy for that.
Rebeka: Yes, I think they're the main things, the gift of time, the gift of time and the gift of time.
Kribashni: Sums it all up. Well, thanks for joining us today. That's a little snippet into why you feel overwhelmed and one really simple way that you can take out the overwhelm, get into your project and really enjoy it while you're going about it.
Rebeka: Thanks for listening to Building with BuildHer. We'd love for you to spread the word.
Kribashni: For show notes, links and downloads, and other awesome resources and freebies, head to BuildHer Collective.com.au. Don't forget that's BuildHer with an H-E-R. If you enjoyed this episode, it would mean so much to both of us. If you could take a minute or two to leave a review and don't forget to subscribe so you can listen next time as we talk all things building and women making their mark in the building industry.