Sunday, March 29, 2009

Moving on in several ways

On Thursday my wife and I got the long anticipated news that the house we had put in an offer for had finally cleared the lenders hurdles (it is a short sale - the two banks are probably taking about a $250K loss on the sale). It's exhilarating and a little stressful - we want to close by April 10th so we can move over Spring Break. We've got to budget our time in the next couple of weeks very careful as a result.

One thing that we're doing is "pre-moving", or staging a bunch of stuff that isn't vital to daily operation into a storage unit we've rented. Naturally, this includes almost all of my miniatures stuff. For one thing, I don't trust movers with it, and it also gives us a chance to look at all of the things that we don't regularly use and make the decision as to whether or not we actually want to bring it into our new house.

Stacking up all of the miniatures and related material that I possess is a truly daunting task. I've already moved about half of my stuff (that which is still in the original packaging for one reason or another) and I've still got a pile that blocks the doorway. While I'm fortunate enough to have a room in the new house that will be a dedicated "hobby room", which I'll be using more than my wife, I'm committed to keeping the volume of stuff I have in there under control.

When I left the Army, I went to work for a company that, prior to employment, gave their prospects a personality test. It was a pretty intense test - I take tests fast and it took me about 90 minutes to finish this thing. Later, I had a chance to look at the results. It pegged me pretty much exactly - I look at the big picture, seek to understand how things work and then apply those concepts to the execution of tasks. But I have a focus problem - I tend to get really excited about a particular project and dive into it, but completion is a real problem - sometimes I can get so caught up in my desire to understand the task that I don't actually DO the task. I also have a bit of "ooh, shiny!" syndrome, where if something else catches my attention I will jump onto that, abandoning the earlier project(s). Thus one of my biggest challenges is actually FINISHING what I start.

That is one of the reasons I started this blog. Taking stock of a project, publicly committing to completing it, and feeling a compulsion to post SOME progress is a very good thing. Of course, sometimes life intervenes, and I need to try to keep my motivation going to actually FINISH the projects.

For the time being, I'm going to have to put pretty much all of my projects on hold. The only minis I'll keep out of storage for the next few weeks are the Trafalgar minis, since I only have five of them and they are really easy to move, plus I'm finding that painting them goes really quick - when I actually do it. Everything else goes into storage.

When they come out of storage, I'm going to try a new tactic - giving myself a self-imposed deadline to complete projects. The idea is to encourage myself to finish my projects while eliminating projects that just aren't that important to me. When I pull these models out, I'm going to inventory them. ALL of them. I'm then going to divide them up into projects of about 20 hours each. I'll then prioritize my projects. That's going to be a heck of a project in itself. But once I've done that, I can get started. Each month, I'll try to FINISH one of those projects, from cleaning and building to table ready, including basing. If I do manage to finish a project, great - I move on to the next one.

If I DON'T finish, though, I get rid of the project at the bottom of the list. eBay, Bartertown, give it to a friend, whatever, that project goes. To deal with my problem of taking on additional projects, if I add another project to my list, then the project at the bottom of the list goes. While eventually I'm hoping to be able to avoid that and just add it to my list without dropping others, I know that with the volume of projects I have right now it will be a long time. Maybe once I get down to less than a year of projects.

Another problem is actually being able to PLAY with these projects. So I'll include terrain projects, and if I don't have the terrain I need to play the game, then I can't do any of the minis for that project until I finish the terrain. This way I'll be able to play any of the games for which I'm actually painting.

All in all, this should be a real eye-opener for me. It is way too easy to just shove all of the extra models I have into a closet and forget about them. If I have them all on a spreadsheet with a running total of how long I think it will take to finish them, I think it will help me to keep my hobby sane without turning it into a job. After all, a hobby is supposed to be fun, and if I'm feeling obliged to do it because of the ridiculous quantity of minis that I have on hand, I need to do something about it.

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