Making a list: Reining in my scattered mind

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Hello all,

As I rummage through my basement, looking out across the disastrous sprawl of unfinished projects, I start to become very discouraged.  There’s so much to do, so many ideas, so little time!  How can such little models take up so much space?  Where do I even start?

I am somewhat prone to distraction.  I have a lot more ideas than I have time to execute them.  I also have a bad habit of getting excited about my latest idea and dropping everything else to try it out.  I end up with multiple projects spread out in pieces all over my basement.  This leads me to waste a lot of time looking for parts or tools, and it can also cause me to become overwhelmed or frustrated and just lose interest.  These issues cause me to become very inefficient and squander what little time I have for my hobbies.

I can be quite productive.  I’m not the fastest painter but I’m not that slow either.  I’m a pretty quick modeler.  A large part of my real life job is to make people more efficient so I must have some skills in that area, right?  So I’m going to do what I would do at work: I’m going to create a master plan of activities, prioritize them, and focus on the top priorities.  I do this before any event that has painting scores and I usually experience a surge of productivity.  I usually also have a burnout period afterward, but that is driven by the need to cram that productivity into a compressed amount of time.

My point is, I’m going to make a list of projects and prioritize them.  I’ve worked on a number of projects in a pretty haphazard fashion over the past few weeks and not generated much more than a mess of partial models.  I’m going as far as to plan out projects into the future and generate checkpoints at which new projects can be started.  This will allow me to make note of new ideas that pop into my head and sort them into the priority list so I know they won’t be forgotten and I know where they fit into my larger vision for my armies.  I’ll know when I need to start acquiring new models/supplies for each project and can schedule some purchases rather than blindly seeking new stuff for projects I won’t even start for weeks/months/years/ever.

I won’t bore you with the whole list.  In short, I’m bumped the tankbustas down the priority list.  Their intended role is to deal with heavy armor but the IG allies can do that better with their lascannons plus they’ll have a better impact on terminators and can score.  I decided that rather than re-painting the Necromunda models and build human mercenaries I would start right into the Liberated Grots.  I’m more excited about those now and don’t need to buy anything to put together the core.  When I do have some free cash I’ll put it into guard models to start fleshing out the human mercs and also generate bits for the grots.  I also pulled tray making to the top of the list.  It’s not exciting but I was at the point of swapping trays around and I really don’t like doing that.

Since starting the list last week I’ve managed to knock out five foam trays including an experimental method for vehicle trays (tutorial in progress.)  I scratch built 4 lascannons and mounted one with a heavy weapons team.  I also worked out how I’m going to manage the basic grunts for the grot army.  It’s amazing how much more effective you can be with just a little organization.

Thanks for reading, let me know what you think!

  • http://creativetwilight.com/ Thor

    I’m prone to the same problem at times. I’ll start painting a unit, get bored of it halfway through, and jump to something else or start some sculpting project. It’s tough when you have so much to do to stay on task all the time. More-so when you have such a backlog in my experience.

    • http://www.creativetwilight.com/ Kamui

      On several occasions I’ve made an army list and focused myself on those models. It works for a while but when it’s done I slip back into the same chaos of project hopping. This time I’m actually making a master list of projects and ideas. Sometimes writing (or typing) things down is enough to clear the mental clutter. Your brain stops nagging at you if it knows you’ve got it listed out and won’t forget about it.

      It is harder when you have too many unfinished models sitting
      around. If you’ve just got a unit or two you’ll work on what you have. I’ve started selling some of my extra models on ebay. I’ll use my master list to help identify models that I simply don’t need to hang on to any more. Sometimes I’m prone to spending too much time converting models to avoid buying new ones when I would really be better off just unloading some and buying what I want.

  • stealthystealth

    I completely understand wasted time. That is why I carry my army in the drawer. What ever my list is need to fit in the drawer and whatever I am working on fit with in the desk as a whole. So all my models paints tools are there and I can slide them away quickly or take them with me.

    Its not the best look but family and work are priority so I have to make do.

    • http://www.creativetwilight.com/ Kamui

      That’s a good idea. One of the things I’ll be looking for if we ever look for another house is someplace in the living area for a hobby desk where I can hide enough models, tools, and supplies for my current project.

      Right now my hobby space is in the basement. I use trays to contain the models and tools required for a project so I can easily bring it upstairs then put it back when I’m done for the evening. But if I start project hopping I end up with several trays and tools scattered everywhere. I also tend to neglect tray making, then I have partially or completely finished models scattered everywhere too. I need to keep it focused and organized or I quickly kill my productivity with tiers of inefficiency.

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