Lynn O’Rourke: ‘Apparently I shouldn’t let fear get in the way’

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JANUARY continues with scarce funds, energy-sapping wintry weather and that post-Christmas clear-out that still has to be dealt with.

One colleague has been hobbling around as a result of having spent so much time crawling about in her attic clearing the clutter. It seems that every second person I speak to is reorganising something and looking forward to a fresh start, or at least trying to.

I am working up to trying to. Having only just managed to force the Christmas decorations back into what little space is left in the attic, I know full well the challenge ahead. However, once you get over the psychological barrier of starting an unpleasant, overwhelming or daunting task – or one combining all three – things supposedly get easier. Which is why I have been googling Ways to Deal with Difficult Tasks.

Breaking things down into manageable chunks is popular. So is tackling easy tasks first and working up to more difficult ones. Apparently I shouldn’t let fear get in the way, but that is clearly penned by somebody who has never been unfortunate enough to view our attic. I must be patient and give myself rewards – this is one of my favourites. Set rest breaks is another and remember to ask yourself, “Does this task really need to be done?” This is getting easier by the minute.

This week we take a look at the stylish renovation of a Victorian lower villa in Portobello, which benefits from its artist owner Rosanne Erskine’s design eye and imaginative approach to upcycling on page 4. Natalie and Steve Currie had their work cut out for them when they took on a rundown cottage near Lauder ten years ago. Their hard work has transformed it into a welcoming four-bedroom house, which you can see on page 10. And on page 14, Lady Shaw Stewart explains the challenges of bringing a large country house back to life.