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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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