Friday, May 4, 2018

Developing your Hobby "Routine"

Hey Everyone!  After last Friday's post Life "Life Lessons and Wargaming: Motivation vs. Dedication" I was asked to go into more detail about how to set up, manage, and maintain a dedicated routine for your Hobby.  It goes without saying that setting up a routine is the same as if you were doing it for Hobby, Writing, Working Out, or anything else you wish to improve on over time.  However, I must admit I am not a fan of calling regularly dedicated time a routine.  A routine is a comfortable thing you do regularly and while we are all creatures of habit I feel the best way to improve and really grow is to go outside of your comfort zone.  In my opinion, you need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

What do I mean by being comfortable with being uncomfortable?  In essence, it is the idea to always be pushing yourself to be better and improve.  For example, I have become very comfortable painting horde armies.  Looking at a unit of thirty or more multiples doesn't phase me as it once did because I chose to paint a few horde style armies with Khorne and then Daughters of Khaine.  Initially sitting down and looking at large units to paint was intimidating, but I told myself if I work on a bit each day then it will get easier and it certainly did the trick.  While a horde army can still feel intimidating to paint I have grown accustomed to the work it involves.  I became comfortable with the uncomfortable idea of painting hordes of models to the point that I find it comfortable.  As such, I began to look for what else I found uncomfortable to begin the process once again.

So the routine, for lack of a better word, was sitting down every night and painting a set of models.  I never really tried to be consistent in how much I would do each night as I found it better to sit down and decide then and there I will paint five models or ten models or maybe even a single model.  The quantity wasn't always the concern, but showing up every day and doing something is what mattered.  The improvement I saw was the reward as much as having a newly painted army was a reward.

 Routinely practicing your hobby is more important then routinely doing the same thing over and over and over.  I could have said I am painting ten models each night no matter what happens would be more detrimental then focusing on just showing up and hobbying.  If you get stuck in a routine that is comfortable you will struggle when you are forced into a hobby crunch due to an upcoming event and while you might finish your army it might not be happy with the result.  If we are all honest everyone has a project they have said "I plan to come back to it to improve it later", but never really do.  Be flexible in what you do, but be consistent in doing it regularly.

To meet your goals and improve your hobby you need to routinely practice and participate in your hobby, but don't let a routine create a bubble of comfort that end sup stagnating you instead.  Be mindful always of why you are doing your hobby and put in the time and effort.  Not every day will be a good one, but not every day will be a bad one.  Take the times your hobby is flowing alongside the times your hobby is stalling and stay consistent and you will meet those goals.  Ask yourself where would you like your hobby to be in eight months or a years time.  Do you want to continue the same level of painting and game performance or do you want to aim for podiums at events and develop smooth blending on your models?

To take a brief look here is what a typical day for me looks like and my "routine".

4:50am Wake up and get ready for the day.
7:00am Commute/Work
11:30am Gym
12:45pm Work/Commute
6:15pm Dinner/Relax with Wife
8:30pm Paint/Hobby/Write blog posts
10:00pm Go to bed

While on the surface this seems very routine, but in reality, it's more of a guideline that I am happy to mess with as I feel necessary (except the work part).  Within the time "routine" I also make sure I am pushing myself whteher it is at the gym or in my hobby.  Even within a "routine" you can be anything but"routine" and I encourage everyone to do jsut that.

To tie in a lot from my article series "Life Lessons and Wargaming" you need to set goals and to meet those goals you must be dedicated to regular practice.  Not every day of practice will be successful or easy and you will face setbacks, but persevering through and looking at the process instead of the goal will ensure you achieve whatever you have set forth for yourself.  Whether it is winning a Grand Tournament or building a strong Warhammer Community you can do it and you can find support through your fellow hobbyists around the globe.  Until next week, Happy Hobbying.

Chuck M.