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Write a to-do list for your project, even if it’s a bit depressing

The door makes that oh-so-solid thunk upon closing, you turn the key, and the engine catches right away. You drop the transmission into reverse and start out of the garage, excited to enjoy your first drive after that big rebuild. Then you see it—the 20-foot-long oil slick following you out of the garage because you didn’t tighten that one fiddly bolt. It was a simple step in the process, and one you could have sworn you didn’t forget.


But you did.


You can wake up now. That was only a nightmare. At least, it will only be a nightmare if you track your projects accurately. A running to-do list may seem like a double-edged sword; organization is great, but a litany of tasks makes the finished product seem hopelessly far away. However, it’s a challenge worth embracing. Here are five ways that a to-do list can make your time in the garage even more rewarding—especially if you have multiple projects running at once.


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Punch list concept is a good one. I first saw it on home reno shows, but David Freiburger of Hot Rod / Roadkill fame is big on this.


Did it for my Mustang a while back and was surprised to end up with a list 40+ items long. Lots of tiny things (dome light lens) but some more involved. Totally worth doing the list.


Now to act on it!