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2023 – Gaining Focus and Bringing Ideas to Life

2023 – Gaining Focus and Bringing Ideas to Life

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Project Blog by darkdanegan Cult of Games Member

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About the Project

A discussion on getting more done in 2023!

This Project is Completed

2023 Needs to be Different

Tutoring 4
Skill 7
Idea 8
3 Comments

Over the Christmas period I have been giving some thought to how I can get more hobby done in 2023. 2022 was a challenging year on a number of fronts, and one of the things that suffered was hobby time. Some of this just couldn’t be helped but, being honest with myself, a LOT of it was inertia on my own part. I know that hobby is the antidote when life gets hard, so finding a way to do it regularly is even more important when time gets crunched.

It was interesting to hear the crew’s ideas on the subject in this week’s XLBS show. I am not sure if I am impressed or horrified at Justin’s throwing miniatures in the bin (let’s go with impressed for now!). The discussion solidified my embryonic idea that I should do a more general project to set out my approach for the year. It might help others, but also I know that it will be a motivator for me, and a way to hold myself to account!

Identifying the Blockers

Tutoring 5
Skill 6
Idea 8
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First thing to address is to ask myself what were the blockers to hobbying in 2022? Parking the real-life stuff, which is what it is, I concluded that there are two categories of blockers: The lies I tell myself; and the physical barriers I put in my way.

Lies I tell myself:
1. If I don’t have half a day free, then I don’t have time to paint (or it isn’t worth getting all the stuff out)
2. I have to focus on one project until it is finished
3. I’m too tired to paint
4. I need to clear/clean/organise my hobby dump before I can relax into hobby, and that is a gargantuan task

Physical Barriers:
1. My workspace is an absolute tip – full of clutter and distractions
2. My hobby space is in a separate room, which means I feel bad taking myself away from my wife unless she is doing something on her own as well
3. What I need isn’t to hand
4. I can’t switch between projects quickly

Tackling the Blockers

Tutoring 5
Skill 6
Idea 7
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The lies I tell myself, are just utter bollocks. Having written them down, it’s embarrassing to admit that these have been regular excuses. I think the physical barriers have fed those lies to an extent, and those barriers are genuine, so if I focus on that I can kick the lies to the kerb.

Also, I am not sure why I still persist on thinking I need to finish projects before starting others. I never do, and I know that my personality isn’t wired that way. In other areas of my life (particularly work) I have accepted this ‘multipotentialite’ approach and have engineered ways to ‘trap’ myself in a job which gives me regular new challenges without needing to wholesale change jobs every 18 months (which I used to). Indeed, the reason that I have stuck with the hobby for so long is all of the variety and new shiny things that it offers. I can explore loads of different things within the one hobby – I don’t need as many hobbies now.

So ‘hobby butterfly’ for me is not just a whimsical dance through la-la-land – it is a much needed remedy for a genuine personality trait that I need to account for.

I was reminded of three books I read which helped me to understand this and really change my life for the better: How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up by Emilie Wapnick; Refuse to Choose!: A Revolutionary Program for Doing Everything that You Love by Barbara Sher; and The Renaissance Soul: Life Design for People with Too Many Passions to Pick Just One by Margaret Lobenstine

In Renaissance Soul, there is a section on the “Ice Cream Sampler” approach, which basically means intentionally having a selection of pursuits – readily to hand – which you can easily switch between.

Reminding myself of this holds the key to the answers I need:

1. Get a usable hobby space in a common room in the house
2. Have multiple projects readily accessible – pick up and play – with little to no set up time
3. Have what I need, and just what I need, to hand
4. ALWAYS have a project ready to sit down and make progress. Critical success factor is that even a 15 min session will create progress.

The Hobby Space

Tutoring 6
Skill 7
Idea 8
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“Who would live in a house like this?”“Who would live in a house like this?”

The main hobby space is a tip. It’s more storage than work area these days, and I know that sorting it is a mammoth task. I also know that in about a year’s time, I may be able to move my hobby stuff into another room, where there may even be room for a small gaming table, so I’ve decided to just leave it. Aside from the occasional airbrushing, it’s going to be storage. I’m going to have a small, focussed hobby space in my living room, with just the things I need for what I am working on, and kick all the physical barriers to the kerb.

I picked up a small computer desk from Argos which fits neatly beside my sofa in the living room. It was easily kitted out as a compact painting/ hobby station. With an elbow rest on the keyboard shelf, and a magnifier light, it’s actually more comfortable than the big desk!

Boxes that are actually Really Useful!

Tutoring 5
Skill 6
Idea 7
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Boxes that are actually Really Useful!

The “hobby sampler“ is in place. Each box either contains a project or the hobby gear needed to get on with it.

Boxes that are actually Really Useful!

This box contains the ‘recently used’ materials, and therefore just the paints for the most recently worked projects. This can be kept tidily by the hobby station.

Boxes that are actually Really Useful!

With only what I need on the actual desk. (There is usually beer on here too 😉)

I have also created new boxes to gather the bits to execute some ideas I’ve had, but yet to start.  They are in the sampler, ready for when the hobby winds change in their direction.

What to Focus On?

Tutoring 5
Skill 6
Idea 7
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Ok, so now I am organised, what projects should be in the focussed “sampler”?

For me, this is the easier bit because i do this every year. Ok, so it usually goes out of the window as soon as a new product comes out that excites me, but you’ve got to start somewhere, right?

I ask myself – “Which projects am i still passionate about?”, “Is there anything new I want to achieve?”, and “What projects are still interesting to me, but not a priority?”

Key here is that I need enough variety to create a sampler, but not so much that it creates overwhelm. I picked 3 main projects that still excite me the most. Interestingly, these are all projects where there is an original idea of mine at the core, i.e. they are fuelled by my own creativity and not just mechanical hobby projects.

1. The Legacy of the Halo Scar

What to Focus On?
What to Focus On?
What to Focus On?

I then picked a couple of new, small, projects that I can do to bring more of my creative ideas to life: A Slaanesh worshiping, Narco Lord aligned, Escher gang for Necromunda; and a Necron Flayed one unit led by an AoS model who looks really Necron and Flayed Oney (they are in the Really Useful Boxes in the previous post)!

Other projects were noted but assigned to the ‘back burner’ i.e. they are till in the dumpster fire that I call a ‘main hobby space’ and are staying there for now. For example, i really want to continue with my Five Parsecs campaign, and would like to do more Core Space missions with my Red Dwarf crew, but the issue of a permanent gaming area is one I am yet to solve.

Motivation - You Get What You Measure

Tutoring 4
Skill 5
Idea 6
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At work, I am a big believer in “you get what you measure”, but I am also very aware of the undesired consequences that can arise from measuring the wrong things (see The Hawthorne Effect if you’re that way inclined!). For example, I know that setting a goal of ‘finished projects’ is utterly wrong for me. It will lead to inevitable failure and disappointment. I have to embrace my multipotentialite nature and measure something that will solve the original problem. I want to hobby more than I did last year because it wasn’t enough. So I am going to measure the number of days on which I paint (or otherwise work on miniatures). Doesn’t matter how long I hobby for (because no minimum will encourage me to sit at the desk, and I know that if I do sit then I am likely to stay a while).

Outcome goals are easy for me to fail, whereas process goals are easier for me to achieve, and will move me towards the desired outcomes.

So the goal is simply: hobby on as many days as possible, and the key performance indicator (the measure) is # days hobbied. 

That’s all. I don’t care if the projects are finished or not, but if I have progressed them all significantly, and hobbied significantly more than last year then I will call that a win. Soft target is 188 days i.e. more days hobbied than not.

I also know that my multipotentialite nature will mean that I should naturally cycle between projects. So by having the projects I want to focus on readily to hand, in theory they should all get worked on without having to set any other targets or goals. We will see!

As I sit here on the 8th January, I have done some painting on all 8 days. So far so good!

Multipotentialite vs Hobby Butterfly

Tutoring 5
Skill 5
Idea 6
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A couple of times while writing this project, I have almost written “hobby butterfly” rather than multipotentialite. I was doing this because “multipotentialite” seems like a bit of a poncey term for a hobby blog. But I stopped myself because it is genuinely a different thing, and I wouldn’t want to lose the ability to help someone who may have struggled with the same things I have, just because I don’t want to come across as a jumped up twat!

So I feel compelled to explain.

“Multipotentialite” is just the most well known name for a personality trait that has a bit in common with ADHD. There is definitely a Venn diagram there. I am not an expert on ADHD so I won’t even attempt to go there, but multipotentialite traits are:

– Throwing yourself into something new, with a fierce drive to learn everything there is to know about it and “master” it
– Once you have mastered it intellectually (not necessarily physically) you are instantly turned off and seek another challenge
– You are seen by others as “fickle” or having “commitment issues”
– You change jobs often
– You have many, seemingly disparate, interests
– If you do find interests that ‘stick’ with you, then you tend to cycle between these interests periodically.

Whereas I think of “hobby butterfly” as more like “shiny object syndrome” i.e. being easily distracted by the new cool thing. I do have some of this as well, but it is fundamentally different. Shiny syndrome can fuel the multipotentialite traits for sure, but it’s not the same. Shiny syndrome can absolutely lead to lower productivity and lack of finishing things, but multipotentialite traits have a real danger of leading me to drop the hobby altogether, so in some ways the opposite. I have learned that I have to allow myself a bit of shiny syndrome, act on my own creativity (because that is not possible to intellectually master), and keep creating these “samplers” of the things I am most interested in, to keep me engaged with the hobby.

Same at work, I had to find a job with a continuing (daily!) refresh of intellectual challenge, because when I didn’t have that I had to change jobs regularly and ended up really quite depressed about my lack of direction. For 2-3 years I went to a dark place that I never want to go to again. Once I had learned about my natural personality traits that were causing this, the first step was to work for a large company where I could move around without changing employer. Then, thankfully, i found a job that provided enough challlenge to keep me (8 years and counting!) because it is impossible to master. I try of course, because that’s what drives me, but I’m unlikely to do it, and perversely that is precisely what keeps me sane. Hence why I say I’ve “trapped” myself in a good place.

The reason to write all this? Aside from explaining my use of a flouncy word? Because if any of the above resonates with anyone reading this, and you struggle with it, then PLEASE check out those books I mentioned in a previous post. They literally saved me 8 years ago to the extent I am not sure I’d even be here without them. Whether ‘here’ means alive or just here on OTT (I’ve been here 8 years too!) I’m not sure and can never know. Sounds dramatic, but I think it’s true.

Anyway, sorry for the diversion, back to hobby!

Goodbye 2022, Hello 2023

Tutoring 4
Skill 6
Idea 6
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The last thing to do before cracking on with 2023 goals is to remember 2022. As mentioned, it was a tough year, but some stuff still got done. And that’s important to remember! I didn’t do a lot more than what I cobbled together for the obligatory Art vs Artist 2022, but it shows that the year wasn’t all bad now was it?!

Goodbye 2022, Hello 2023

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