alertTo reduce delays and eliminate customs fees, we now ship from the UK, US (for US customers) and the Netherlands (for EU customers). Please visit our shipping page for the latest, detailed information. (Last updated June 24nd, 2021)

Prioritising Painting Projects

Hello, Gaming Friends!

Those of you who've read some of my posts for WS&S over the last year might have worked out that I often spend far more time thinking about tabletop wargaming than I do actually painting or playing. Inevitably, this is mostly due to family, house, and work commitments, but it means that rather than rolling dice or painting, I often have to make do with day-dreaming about my hobby in snatched moments.

Plotting and planning.

And I make a lot of notes - either in my hobby notebook when I'm at home or on miscellaneous scraps of paper when I'm not.

Today I'd like to introduce you to one of the tools I often use whilst plotting and planning: I prioritise my hobby 'to-do list'.

It's a simple system which lives in my notebook, but for the purposes of clarity here, I've copied it across onto a simple spreadsheet. Essentially, when trying to prioritise my billions of hobby projects, I use two variables for each project, each ranking from  1 - 3. Here's what it looks like; a fuller explanation follows:

The values of the two variables are then multiplied together to give a 'priority rank': the lower the number, the more I ought to prioritise that project's completion. In theory. I don't know the name for this kind of system, but I picked it up from undertaking a health and safety audit of a building years ago.


The first variable is 'urgency'. Urgency takes into account such factors as

  • the unit's general utility within its force,
  • whether it's needed for any upcoing events or special scenarios, and
  • getting it out of my 'to-do' drawer [I don't have dedicated hobby space in my small cottage, so all my stuff lives tucked away in drawers under the shared desk: this includes a drawer dedicated to 'works-in-progress' which is - of course - always full to bursting!].

With regard to urgency, '1' = fairly urgent: I need it pretty soon for a specific game or to make a core force, and '3' = no rush: it'd be nice to get it finished, but I'm unlikely to be in dire need of it.


The second variable is 'complexity'. Complexity takes into account more obvious factors, such as

  • How intrinsically awkward or time-consuming the painting progress will be (for example, camouflage smocks, 'dazzle'-painted ships or Caunter schemes),
  • Additional levels of awkwardness such as basing or applying decals, and
  • How convenient actually accessing the model is: if it's in my 'to-do' drawer, then fine; if it's buried unbuilt in a box in the shed - less so.

With regard to complexity, '1' = fine: it shouldn't take too much time or equipment, and '3' = difficult: multi-stage application of decals, varied basing and so on.


For those of you who enjoy such things, I also took the chance to try colour-coding those priorities, with green being high- and red being low-priority:

(the 'date completed' column is almost certainly the most important one)

Maybe those colours would be better the other way round? Either way, all of this spreadsheet play has a real-world application too, for as I problem-solve 'Google Sheets' in my hobby time, I genuinely improve my real-world IT skills!

Of course, I know all this isn't for everyone and it's way too needlessly complicated for some, but then, as I say: I spend a lot of time just thinking about my hobby, so for me at least, it's helpful to attack it efficiently when I do actually get the chance.

- Chris.

Leave a Reply
Post your comment

Karwansaray Publishers