A mutter about timescales

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As you may know, my partner, Chris, and I have recently moved into a house and garden that needed (and needs) quite a bit of refurbishment to bring it up-to-date and turn it into a family home.

All the tradespeople who’ve worked on our home have been done a fantastic job and we’re really pleased with the way everything’s turning out. But there’s a but.

And it’s a big but.

Schedules and timescales!

Only a minority of the people we’ve worked with have turned up on the day they originally said they would.

Far too many have said things like: “We’re looking at six to eight weeks before we can start,” and then actually arrived 12 weeks later having been curiously unresponsive in the meantime. Others haven’t even committed to a timescale at all, but wrung their hands and commented on how tricky that sort of detail is to give.

I find it immensely frustrating because I’m not very good with chaos or uncertainty (who is?) It’s even more frustrating because it seems to be the rule rather than the exception to be so carefree about dates. And even though all the tradespeople have given us a great result in the end, there’s a nagging irritation about the process that has marred the experience and my opinion of their company.

Perhaps one of the reasons I find it so frustrating is because it’s an approach that’s so alien to me. Whenever I secure a new piece of work from a client, I block out time in my diary to do it and then tell the client when they will receive the first draft from me. I then deliver the first draft on that day without fail. The process helps me know what I’m doing when. More importantly, it also helps my clients with their schedules.

I had assumed that what I did was the rule. My experiences have made me wonder if it’s the exception.

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