Friday, May 3, 2013

Get More Done with Time Management!

This is one of those topics where you'd think that the subject line alone would be enough. Do you get more done with appropriate Time Management? Of course you do! By the logic of the statement alone, managing your time appropriately is key to getting anything done, be it at work, at home, or indeed even in our hobby. The question though, is how. How do we appropriately manage our time so that we not just get time for our hobby, but we manage the time spent in our hobby so that we get the most out of it, and actually complete projects?

We're going to take a look at some key areas on how good time management can actually help us in the hobby, starting with how to make time for it in the first place, to applying those skills to small-scale projects, large-scale projects, and competition-level projects.

How to Manage Time, to Make Time for the Hobby

Believe it or not, this can be a problem for some, so I felt it best to build the foundational points from here. This may be the longer of the sections of this article since it is indeed the foundation for the rest. The root of the issue can be different for all, from hours upon hours spent at school and with studies, to working overtime, and just plain spending time with a significant other, families and children. We're a busy people, and there just simply isn't enough time in the day to do everything we want to do...or is there? Let me approach this from my perspective, since its the only one I know intimately, and we'll go from there. See, I have been working quite a lot of overtime lately, and in the last two months have traveled quite a bit for both work and pleasure. Combine all of that with having a house, a wife, and a son, and my time is precious indeed. So how do I make time for the hobby?

I plan.

I've come to the conclusion that if I don't plan to spend time in the hobby, I won't spend time in the hobby! So I start by taking a look at my week, seeing what is already planned, including just daily things like work and family time. Once I have those in mind, I then look at the gaps, the places where I can slip in thirty minutes, an hour, or however long I can of hobby time, and actually reserve that time for the hobby. I'm not to the point of delegating what will happen in that time yet, that comes later, but I do plan for that time to be spent on the hobby. This is typically after my son goes to bed so that I don't eat into family time, but if I'm close on a deadline I may cheat on that a bit, it all depends. Ultimately it's up to me, and you, to make time for the hobby and give it that time. There will be times when we miss or find more time than we thought, but you have to understand your schedule, look for the times you have available, and plan accordingly.

Small-Scale and Large-Scale Projects Time Management

I would generally say that smaller scale projects would include skirmish games, as well as later additions to a larger force. Why do we need to worry about small-scale project time management? Because much of the time, I believe we rush even the smaller projects because we don't plan for them well enough. We figure there aren't as many models, so we don't worry about the deadlines or when they'll get done because there aren't many models. Let's just all agree that this is a bad frame of mind, shall we? By now we all know how long certain steps of certain tasks will take us, be it by batch painting, airbrush, or detail work. Plan out those steps in the time you have allotted during your week, and tackle them accordingly!! If you only have 30 minutes one day, base coat the models, maybe apply a wash, or the first layer of one of your key colors in the paint scheme. If you have 3 hours, plan some detail work that you don't want broken up, and know is going to take some time. Either way, in the end my point is to use your time wisely, planning out specific tasks for the amount of time you have available to you, and you will get more done faster.

The basic tenants for large-scale project management are the same, it just takes more dedication for the larger projects. Larger projects can be intimidating at times, and instead of procrastinating because there are so few models, we put off the project because there are so many! Again, poor idea yes? It is even more imperative with the larger projects, at times number into the triple digits of models, that you plan out your chunks of time accordingly with what you need to get done, by when you need it done by! Use your time wisely and you will move through those projects quicker than you think possible.

Competition Projects Time Management

Here's where good planning can go to pot quick. You may think that painting a single figure for a painting competition entry will only take you a week, maybe two at the most. But I'm here to tell you that you may spend an hour straight just trying to get the eyes correct. Do not underestimate the time required for a competition piece! Te key to proper time management in this type of project is over plan for it, blocking out more time than you think it will take and then go from there. There's nothing worse than finishing a Golden Demon or Crystal Brush entry the night, or hour, before you turn it in. Do t do that to yourself and plan more time than you need. After that step, it just goes back to planning each portion of the project in the times you have allotted, appropriately.

The basic tenants of time management I've listed here can even be applied to finding times to actually throw dice in a game, writing and concepting lists, writing a hobby blog, or anything having to do with our favorite pastime. So long as you get the basics, and actually follow through with your plan as much as possible, you will get more done, in a shorter amount of time.

- Tim



  1. Great post. I use a few of those myself. You know what really helps? Being a parent o_O I swear after my kid was born you wouldn't believe the amount of stuff I could cram into a nap!!! I look back at how efficient I thought I was and laugh. Some of my best planning is done in the downstairs bathroom on a device I have affectionately dubbed: The Epiphany Toilet. Also, sleep is for the weak -_-

  2. Dude, I have my own Epiphany Toilet!! I will agree that my son has made me much more conscious of time as well. That, and knowing I only have so much time a week to do anything with the hobby...s'why I bought an airbrush!!

    Now I just need to learn to use it...

    1. Oh, I'm so sorry to tell you this; I have started to use mine for more than just priming and sealing and here's what I found: Up front, huge time savings on base coat and highlights. Then you factor in cleaning, still not bad, then you go to fill in details and you have to slow WAAAAY down so you don't ruin that nice air brushing. ~sigh~ There is no faster way to do a great job. Stupid perfectionism -_- It IS a TON of fun though and the learning curve isn't as steep as people would scare you into believing!

  3. From my own personal experience with time management software, what I actually do is I set out plans for each day and at the end of the day I check them out to see what I have achieved for that day.

    There are actually several time management tools that can help us to schedule and organize our time. I have a great tool to share with you. Its Replicon time recording software