Organization is important. It’s all about developing good habits and creating structure in your life that allows you to accomplish more and stay motivated. With car projects, I have this tendency to jump around on what I want to do. It’s easy to think of all the things I want to do, but difficult to stay on track and manage the budget and order of operations. When I create a real plan of attack, that’s the first step that keeps me working towards an end goal and makes me excited about what I will have when I finish. This planning prevents me from changing my mind and ultimately not doing anything because I can’t decide. You just need the commitment and courage to establish a road map and then follow it. One of the easiest ways to do that with your next major projects is to sit down and think about how you want to see your car, how you want it to drive, and then to physically write down the parts list. This week, we’re here to help you plan your dream build and begin to see it through.
We all sit around and dream about the parts we want, the ultimate vision we have for our car, but few of us take the time to map it out, pull the trigger, and execute on those dreams. The first step is to decide what you want and to create a list. Nearly every self-help or business advice book I have read begins with the need to write down your objectives and the timeline so you can follow it and cross off completed tasks as you finish them. Your build is no different. Write down what you want to do in a general sense. I’ll give you an idea here with something I want to do:
Build a real exhaust
Valve cover gasket
Driver’s side e-brake reinstalled
Rear Driver Wheel Hub Dust Shield
Carpet steam cleaned
Switch current suspension setup for air suspension
Shave/tuck engine bay
While this isn’t necessarily everything on my list, everything above is real project goals I have for the next iteration of my E30. It has already benefitted from several plans like this, where I write down what I need and what I want, and then execute on it. Often, the car determines what my next projects are. Oil pan leak? That means I’m going to tackle quite a bit of other items since I’m in there, which I did. What did I do before I dug in? I made a list of everything I was about to have access to with the transmission and subframe out of the car and planned my attack so I could put it all together at once with parts I wanted so I don’t have to take it apart again to make those changes.
Of course, building the plan of attack is only the first step. We can write lists all day long, but without execution, its just a waste of time. The easiest way to execute, especially if you are like most of us and don’t buy everything at the same time due to cost concerns, is to make a more specific list. Find the exact parts you want and then add them to your Wish List on the ECS website.
This step is important. Not only does it require you to make that next decision in deciding what parts/brands/versions to include in your build, but it creates a mental commitment to that project when you add them to your wish list. I suggest that you pick out your parts, even if you plan to buy them right now, and add them to your wish list first. Put the whole project there. You can see individual costs and total costs, which can help you determine where you stand with your budget. Sometimes, I think of a dozen little things I need to do with low individual costs, put it all in a cart, and then am somehow surprised when twelve 20 or 30 dollar items amount to a few hundred bucks. That makes me rethink what I’m doing. When I put it all in a wish list and just tick things off as I purchase them in batches, it helps me maintain my budget while I have a clear picture of the total project cost.
What’s more, our Wish List will not just act as a staging area for parts you are planning to purchase. Any time an item drops in price or is part of a sale/promotion, you’ll receive a notification in your email inbox associated with your ECS account. That way, every time there is a chance for you to save a bit of money, you’ll know and can pull the trigger then, thus dropping your total project cost. That’s either money saved or money you can spend on ‘luxury items,’ or parts you wanted but decided against because of your budget. Who doesn’t love more parts for less money?
So, once you have the Wish List built out and used properly as a staging area (not just some imaginary list of things you kinda want, but a real road map and budgeting tool) you can begin grabbing things in batches. If you need to do something that will also grant access to something else, go ahead and knock out everything you want to change while you’re in there. Cross that portion of the project off the list, and move on. By taking it in stages, you never become overwhelmed and you have a better chance of parts in your wish list dropping in price the longer you have them in there.
Finally, your next step is to make the first parts purchase. Once those parts are on the way and you’re in the mindset to work, you’ll be itching to get into the garage and start your next big project. With all of us stuck at home, there is no better time than now to tackle something you might otherwise hesitate to do since you might need to have the car taken apart for longer than you’d want if shows, cruises, and events were happening.
Don’t forget, right now if you build a Wish List at ECS, you could be one of TWO winners selected to receive $1,000 ECS Gift Cards. So use that wish list tool to your advantage, plan out your project, stay motivated, get wrenching, and have a chance to get your project funded by ECS Tuning with a helpful stack in these trying times.