How do you manage to find the time you need for your projects?

I’m retired and have a fair amount of free time on hand for model building. Unfortunately, my burnout issues usually boil down to lack of motivation due to extreme weather and/or not so great health.

In the past few years temperatures have been soaring here — already 106° F in early June. I purchased a Honeywell Portable AC Unit last summer for my office/workroom which helps to supplement the main window AC unit located in the apartment’s opposite living room. Together, they need to work very hard to balance-out room temperatures throughout my apartment. Both are very noisy but ultimately, the portable AC unit is preventing my computer from frying, my paints from drying-out, and my styrene kits from melting… and not to mention, my brain from exploding! In addition, I hung Blockout Curtains over the large window in my workroom. Once installed, I had better control of light consistency and direction for working and photography purposes. I use Smart Bulb lighting and Smart Switches throughout my home including my workbench and I control everything with Apple’s HomeKit app. Last summer, there was no model building progress at all, as configuring my workspace consumed that entire season. Note: Products mentioned can be found on Amazon.

As far as planning, I usually do that at rest — kind of a meditative state where my motivation seems to kick in. When I wake and while my thoughts and inspirations are still fresh, I’ll add notes into my phone, tablet, or laptop where I keep a synched and searchable digital reference check-list. Before each model building/painting session, I make it a habit to open said check-list as well as reference any photos. I keep those items open and available at a glance for quick reference while working on the model.

Once I can get my eye (the one remaining) and other hurting body parts to cooperate, I can sometimes sit down for a model building session… though much shorter than they used to be.

Happy modeling whatever it takes. :hammer_and_wrench:

I’ve only got a few sessions in the past year. I’ve had a lot of extra to do at work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I only do a session on the weekends, that way I feel good about it for some reason. I also plan ahead-lots of planning. I’m an Engineer so the planning is mostly a Critical Path Method flow that I keep in my head. Armor is perfect for me, I can have 3 paths or more going on: wheels, body, and turrent. I think Henry Ford said it best, I forgot his quote but the idea is, “Nothing is too hard if you break it into small enough jobs.” Airplanes can be a little harder as it seems to work in a more linear path. Everything seems to revolve around getting the cockpit finished.
Take care and stay safe,
Don “Lakota”

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I was kind of unemployed for awhile and so I had a lot of time for crafting. Now I’m back to full time and missing the craft time. I also find that being full time makes me not have much energy for model making in the free time that I do have.

Retirement still has me struggling to find time to build. New things to do, and burn out still occur.

With all of my hobbies, I struggle to find time to get my work done. :blush:

And I’m not calling out anyone in particular, but ever wonder how much more you’d get done if it weren’t for the boards? I visit this and other sites far less frequently (I’m rather proud of my low post count) and am better for it.

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I am also retired. I found lots of time to model during the time we were basically housebound due to COVID restrictions. Now that things are letting up I have to return to other house/property chores. Currently expanding the kitchen by adding a pantry. Wife will have other things lined up to distract from modeling. Working harder now than before retirement.


I’m retired and time isn’t an issue. I also have a lot of health issues so that can also limit my time at the desk. But I don’t see it as a race. One kit at a time. (I do have unfinished work tho!!). We live in the sub tropics so heat and humidity can be an issue come painting time. We have AC but never use it.

I don’t rush things. I can procrastinate over some steps. 30 minutes at a time and I find I start taking short cuts and that annoys me. I’m the tortoise. :thinking:

I do multiple builds at once and work on whatever seems easiest at the moment or that I am into. I started a dozen Pz III kits at the end of February and am hoping to have them all or mostly painted before my teaching job starts again the end of July. I also have a '67 Impala I’m building for my daughter as well as a '57 Chevy, a Spitfire, and a Bf109E-4. Before the end of the year I will have started a 1/350 Klingon battlecruiser and a 1/24 VW Panel bus painted either as a Shell Oil company van or a Pez delivery van (both will require me learning how to make my own decals or layered stencils as none are for sale).
I do this as a married man with two teenage daughters (old enough to be somewhat self-sufficient which helps) fighting a backyard full of kudzu during a wetter-than-average Georgia summer.

tl;dr There isn’t really a magic to it; days will come up where the time just falls into your lap, like a national holiday and no other commitments. Other times you will just ‘know’ you have the time to spare, like a random hour that gives you just enough time to stick a couple of parts together and inch your way to the finish.

No simple answer that fits everyone. You really just have to find your own way and set your own priorities.

Don’t be too discouraged, though. As you can see, you are in good company. Figuring out how to make for discretionary hobby time in your daily routine is something that almost everyone has to do.

I’ve experienced many different ways that this difficulty has affected me over the years, from long periods when I couldn’t do any modeling at all to other long periods when I was essentially modeling fulltime (often working on commissioned projects). I’ve also experienced periods when modeling was competing with other hobbies for my spare time, and you simply can’t do two totally different things at once.

My experience has been that when I get really motivated to work on some modeling project, I can seem to find the time somehow. If that means that I bypass some other thing that’s less interesting or important, well, that’s just how it is.

So much depends on your personal motivation level to work on the modeling project instead of something else. Your motivations establish your personal priorities, and the things that you prioritize will be the ones that get your time and attention.

However, one thing that you can do proactively is to try to set the conditions for future success. This might mean things like considering the physical requirements you lack for modeling and then plan (long term or medium term) to renovate your living space or move to a better suited space. You can read through many threads here about how guys have spent years planning and dreaming of creating their ideal model rooms, studios or shops. In the mean time, many of them have made incremental improvements in the spaces they have.

(Perhaps you need to think about buying a window air conditioner for your workroom? Maybe you need a painting booth that is ducted and ventilates out through a window? Etc. Making such changes might take some weeks or months because of other things like saving the money for them, but just because it can’t be done immediately is no reason that you can’t plan and take action to make it happen one day.)

Deliberately planning to create a routine time to model that you can incorporate into your daily or weekly schedule might be considered. It could take some days or weeks (perhaps even a month or more) to make the small, gradual changes in your routine so this can happen, but with deliberate thought and action, maybe can do it. Maybe you give up watching TV one evening a week, or maybe you make coffee and then head to your work room every Saturday morning until noon. Perhaps you set aside Sunday afternoons. The point is to create a routine and then treat it just like every other important routine in your life.

In short, it’s just life, and we all must find our own paths through it. You’ll find yours.

Just don’t allow the fact that real life will sometimes mean that you can’t always do what you might want make you give up doing those things. Take care of the things that you must do, and the time to do the fun stuff will open up. There’s a cycle to life, and, eventually, time will become available if you’re alert to see it when it does.

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Thank you for replying in the first place.

I wish I had the option of airconditioning to make the summers more comfortable, because I hate those hot temperatures from 25 degrees celsius and above.
But unfortunately, it isn’t currently an option I have.
I’m hoping that this sweet dream becomes reality in a far away future, but not for now.

As I’m reading from your story about the airconditioning, it is a essential for you to live.
You can’t live without it.
I wish my parents would see that it is essential for me to live with as well.

I have also tried to work with some digital systems to help me with my model making.
But it just doesn’t work out.
Writing things down does the best job for me.
Since I’m constantly switching between my devices, most of the time my desktop when I’m at home.
When airbrushing or at work my tablet and my smartphone sometimes.
And I found it inconvenient to not have everything in one place to keep order.

What I’am doing, being it slowly.
Is working out procedures and such on my tablet using WPS Office app to speed up things and save valuable time on procedures that are constantly repeating.
With that, I’m doing the thinking in advance and I’m making step by step plans.
Including with if-then-else structures if applicable.
But as always, I just struggle to find the time to do even these things to work out.

In fact, I’m not even have enough time to reply to all the replies I got on the topic.
And breaks on my work aren’t well suited either, because of all the noise and annoyences that await me there.

Anyway, wish you the best of luck with your model making sessions when you get to it. :innocent:

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Friend, where I live I am glad when the temp drops to 25° C at night. Adjusting for humidity and other conditions the ambient temp where I am right now is 35.5° C (96°F). My heat pump can bring that down to about 25 during the day if I’m lucky.

I am semi-retired. Did 20 years in the US Army and still have a full time job. My youngest daughters are in college an living at home so not too many distractions (except from the wife).
I am lucky that I was able to work from home so the pandemic didn’t affect me that much.
I built 1:35 armor in the 70’s and 80’s and didn’t take on the hobby again until six months ago. With so many technical improvements and choices to build, it has been a very steep learning curve for me.
I made the mistake to start with a Meng Leopard 2A6 which I struggled to build due to the many small pieces (including PE parts). It’s my opinion that some kits are over-engineered and require a skill that I still don’t have.
I learned my lesson and started working on Tamiya models which are very forgiven and have less parts.
I live in Arizona (yep, we hit 120F a few weeks back), and fortunately we have a good A/C system. I set up my office, my mancave and my hobby area in a vacant bedroom which still has a carpet, meaning the carpet monster is alive and kicking!
My advise is to do it at your pleasure. The beauty of this hobby is that time is not a constraint. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and do little things. I work on certain areas (tracks, PE parts) and when getting tired or overwhelmed by the carpet monster I take a break.
Don’t get frustrated enjoy your hobby!

Flak 88.1

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A word of warning!! Years ago I was in the hobby industry. (Wholesale). I picked up a number of commissions for models. One involved about 7 large scale wood sailing ships for a museum restaurant. Money was good but they wanted them yesterday. I had to employ another model maker to help. Sale price - wages meant no profit. I also picked up a job for several 1/24 sale trucks for an insurance company. That one was ok. Good money. Then I got another order for ‘lots’ of custom built trucks for PR work for a large trucking company. And several more jobs. What happened was complete burnout. Home modelers did the work for free. You cant compete against free. And I was rushing things. What got me the work was my quality. That suffered.

Why am I telling this? Because I found that burnout was a quick way to destroy a great hobby. My last model was back in 1996. It was 2015 before I got back into building stuff. Trains then 1/35 scale. I still do a lot of articles and ‘how to’ for a couple of magazines. (See the enclosed image).

But even that is becoming a PITA.

Set a pace that keeps the fun alive. Don’t push yourself and suffer burnout.



Now that I’m retired I have modeling time that I’m using to catch up the multitude of half built projects that were started and never finished when working. I’ve also stopped buying because I have a large stash that I realize will take YEARS!!! to go thru. I do get what my wife calls “Care Packages” but they contain paint and after market parts to replace poor kit parts.

Thanks everyone for replying to the topic.
I’m finally having found some time to reply to all your replies.
But just working harder on everything I wanted to do today.
And planning ‘on the go’.
Not taking more time for things then I’m feeling is necessary.

@Lakota I’m totally ageeing to the quote you are mentioning in your comment. I to think and also find that when you are breaking big things down into smaller parts, will help and make things much more easy to do. Planning is still something that I still seem to be bad with. Even with the things I have tried to do, like planning what I want to do the next day. When I go to bed the previous day, making sure to only plan one day ahead at maximum. Trying to plan more ahead like a week or so or to plan time in, but also that didn’t seem to work for me. So planning isn’t really a strong point of me, maybe I purchase some books about it.

@18bravo I’m totally agreeing with you. If you cut down on time for things like being online, you could be finding more time to spend on other things. Like scale modeling. One of the reasons why I’m only making topics on this forums is. That I’m not seeing any reason to reply to others their topics. Because, I’m feeling that I’m not having much to contribute to the topic. Most of the time what I wanted to say is said by another member that was much faster to reply then I was. Also, I’m having so much more to learn before I can really talk with the more experienced scale modelers that are on here. And are proudly sharing their projects.
I also feel that is more efficient to just post a topic to get all the answers you want and need.
And I’m just not feeling like scrolling throug the forums searching for interesting topics to read and reply to. As I’m not seeing good reasons to do it.

@creading At some point of the Covid pandemic I to had some nice amounts of time to spend on all my private things I had and wanted to do. Like scale modeling, since my work was closed for a few months due to the pandemic that transit just wasn’t driving. But, I’m afraid that I did waste that valuable time to just not having an efficient way to harnass all that time I got. The days ended up going to fast and before I knew it. I had to get back to work again. Having not done enough to my feelings on all the things I wanted to do. I’m hoping next time, I will do a lot better on this.

@BGT I think you can see your procrastination as a gift, because I’m especially now feeling that I’m just never having enough time. And my experience is that from procrastination only time gets lost. But since you say time is no issue…

@brekinapez I think you are the perfect example of someone that is so much more advanced than I’am. Since I’m now only building kits practically out of the box. With now some study with it to get some interesting background information on the project. And I’m still only learning the studying part. Improving it, making it more efficient. I have a long time to go before I’m good at that. I’m also just learning on more ‘advanced’ techniques like filling gaps and that kind of stuff. Airbrushing is also fairly new to me. And I’m also still learning with that. Also having the necessary problems with it.
And yes, I’m thinking that you are right. Sometimes time will just get to you when you not expect it. Or that it just happens to be a day you have more time to spend, like an holliday or a day of.

I’m sorry that I’m not able to provide more answers to the other replies of the topic. But I’m afraid I have run out of time. And have to do some other things as well before I go to bed. But, I will come back to this and provide answers/replies to the other topics I didn’t provide an reply for yet.
I’m wanting to provide high quality answers to all of you and that means, not always having enough time to reply.
Also depends on the replies and how long they are.
For now, have a great week.


Finally, I have found some time again to provide a new set of replies to the other replies that I previously wasn’t able to provide with a answer.

@SdAufKla First I want to thank you again for providing me with another great quality reply to my topic, I really appreciate that.
It’s indeed good to read that I’m not the only one who is struggling with finding enough free time to spare on my scale modeling hobby practices.
In my case, it is also true that there were periods I couldn’t do anything with my scale modeling hobby since I had other things to do as well.

And what you are telling about competing hobby’s, is also true in my case. I’m having a lot of reading to do, since I have a large collection of history magazines waiting to be read again. Some of them I didn’t even read before. Or I just only read one time in all those years I got them. There are a large amounts of special with them about the Second World War, since I’m finding that an interesting topic to read. But I’m also having a lot of other topics I want to read about again. Such as the Ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks. But I’m also wanting to read about more modern topics, such as time management and online privacy. Since I’m seeming to struggle with those two topics as well.
I’m also wanting to start pickup my chess playing again, after all those years I did only computer gaming. With which I wasn’t happy at all after some years time. And I got rid of all those things. And chess will be probably take up a lot of my free time as well. As I’m mostly having to start from scratch, since a lot of my previous knowledge is missing, or parts of it missing. So I need to get that back.
So there are a lot of things competing for my free time.

What you are saying about the motivation, most of the time I’m really high motivated for a specific topic to model about. But after some time it drops drastically, to almost the point I want to leave it and don’t return to it again. So I sometime have to push myself really to the end to not get a lot of unfinished work piling up. As this will give a mess for me that I can’t oversee things anymore.

I’m totally agreeing about the part that you are saying a lot depends on the motivation level. I most of the time get so much more done when I’m highly motivated. It also helps to be peaceful inside me. Like a peaceful mind and body. Get good amounts of sleep and wake up fresh the next day.

I’m really interested about your suggestion to plan in advance. To look into the future, how do I want to let my ideal scale modeling room look? What things do I want. At this stage, I can’t change much for myself as I’m still living in my parents house. And there isn’t probably any change that I’m leaving the house anytime soon. So I’m restricted to the rules and agreements that are applying in the house. I’m certainly dreaming of how my perfect place where I make my own rules would look like. And one thing for sure is that I’m wanting to install airconditioning. As extreme heat will only be more happening in the future, according to it isn’t a bad decission to buy and install AC. I’m seeing it more and more as an necessity, otherwise there will be some day I can’t take that heat anymore. Not to mention my day to day life including my plannings for that day.

Currently, I’m not having a ‘routine’ for scale modeling. I’m now just trying to spend my days with whatever time I’m having availlable. And squeeze in everything I can whatever I have time for. For example, do I have 10 minutes between something? Then I read a page of my magazine for example. Breaks on my work? I can do some things with my phone or tablet. I’m trying to formalize frequently occuring procedures with my scale modeling by working things out on my tablet using WPS Office app. And then printing them out. Using them as the standard and regular procedure. But also that project is halted, since I’m not having enough time to do that recently. Also, when I’m planning to those things. I seem to have some mental blockade, and I just can’t think enough for that to realy work things out that I’m satisfied. So I have to do it sometime when I have inspiration and I’m motivated, otherwise It wouldn’t work.

Indeed, we all have to make sacrifices and choices in our life. Some of them are easier then others. And most of time, when things aren’t exactly how I want them to be. I think, ‘That’s life’.

Last but not least, thanks for your advices and tips. Sometimes, I’am thinking that I want to give up on particular things to make more time and room for other things I want to do. But my experience is that doesn’t work either. Because you want to do those things later again eventually. I will not give up anymore on the things I like to do, just because of scarcity of time. And I will just accept that I just not always have time for all the things I want to do. And that there will be longer periods of time that will be between the different hobby’s I have.

Thanks for replying,


@brekinapez What mark or brand of heat pump/airconditioning do you have? Maybe it is something when I’m having my own apparment to live, that I want to purchase to get my appartment cooled down.

@LuisyFrancis It mush have been hard to pick the hobby up after so many years or inactivity. I to wasn’t affected much by the pandemic, since I actually saw it as a gift. It gave me time to spare at some point. Such as when my work was closed because of transit of other clients wasn’t driving anymore. Sadly, I wasted most of my time as I couldn’t harnass that time properly. So time ended up going really fast and before I knew it I was back at work. Regreting that I didn’t do more then I did. I’m going to try and take your advice to do it on my own pleasure. I’m not fully getting what the ‘carpet monster’ is, since I’m Dutch and we don’t have as much carpet here as you might have. I’m thinking, according to the video of JayzTwoCents that is has to do with static electricity hitting you. Or that your parts get lost in the carpet. I remember that occuring on the previous house we lived. Where I also did lose many small part on the ground because of floor covering. By the way, your models turned out nicely. They are just above the level of modeling that I’m capable of. That is a compliment by the way. :wink: :innocent:

@BGT Thank you for sharing your story. I’m thinking that I on Friday had some hard time. When I’m really was thinking I just never had enough time to do all the things I wanted to do. And that I was even on work thinking of that. The weirdest ideas like not going to work to get time freed up came up in my time. I thought, there has to change something radically or drastically. Now I’m just going harder on things and use every bit of time availlable to me to do even the smallest things to get things done eventually. Having a lot of reading to do, so I’m doing that when I’m having even little time to spare. I’m also planning to read new topic books, like time management. As I seem to be bad at that aspect. I will take your advice to not get burned out. Scale things down, accept that things aren’t going as fast I might want them to be. Accept that the pace is laying much lower. That is just the way it is, thanks for replying. Have fun with your scale modeling.

@steviecee I have a similair instance with all my books and magazines, that also will take me a long time to go through before I’m able to buy new stuff. The motivation that I want to study about more topics. And that I actually want to buy new books is the thing that helps to keep my going to ‘clean up’ the old stuff and get things going and sorted out eventually. Maybe this can help you with your models as well.
I wish you all the best of luck and enjoyment to finish your kits and even to start new projects in the future.

Thanks again everyone for your replies. It took me at least an hour or more to reply to them. But it was worth it. :white_check_mark:

Cheers! You’re definitely not alone in the struggle to find time or to make a suitable workspace for modeling.

It might also be good to keep in mind that many of the modelers here have been at the craft and art for decades and decades. Many, if not all, of us have faced these same problems in the past, and just like learning and mastering the skills, knowledge and abilities needed to model, finding good solutions and strategies to deal with the problems of time and workspace can also take a long time.

Even after you eventually establish a really suitable workspace, the struggle to find all the time you want along with the motivation to use it to build models is never ending.

Consider that artists have been searching for and lamenting the absence of their personal Muses for centuries. Scale modelers are not immune to the same.

Always remember it’s JUST a hobby. Unless you’re a pro then I can’t see an issue with plodding alone at your own pace. Hobby’s are meant to be fun. When the fun goes out of your hobby it’s no longer a hobby.

Mind you spending hours putting a Tiger1 tank tracks together tests the theory of it being a hobby!!!



I used to buy a lot of books and take them with me to read when I traveled but now I get them thru my local library’s inter-library loan