Saturday, March 23, 2013

Find energy when there ain’t none

Like many of you I presume, I work a very long day. I won’t bore you with the details, but I typically get home around 7 or 7:30, and by the time I’m done preparing a relatively decent supper, doing a few household chores, and taking care of the Three S’s, it’s easily 9 p.m. Time to go into the workshop and do some modeling, right? Maybe not. I’m too tired. My eyes hurt. I’d rather watch manly shows on TV, like Inside Combat Rescue, Myth Busters, or All Girls Garage.

If you're going to fall asleep, what better place that here?
This is why, come December 31st, I’ll look back and see that I’ve built only four models as I seem to do every year. With more than a couple hundred models in the stash, this is very depressing.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. I’ve recently discovered something potentially groundbreaking, at least for me. I’ve found that if I simply sit down at the workbench and start to work on something, I find new energy! My goals might be modest, for example, removing the mold lines on  a set of landing gear and wheels, or sanding a couple of seams to get a head start on the weekend, but before I realize it I often find myself going further, spending more time than I had expected and getting a lot done. All of a sudden it’s 11:00 and I don’t feel quite as tired as I did, and damn son, my model is a day closer to completion!

This happened to me last week. I sat down, feeling tired, to apply only one coat of paint to my Hasegawa 1/72 J2M3 Jack. I didn’t expect the color to be quite right (I custom mix my own colors for nearly every model), but I figured it would be a good start. Lo and behold, the color looked good, and I pressed on with four additional colors to basically complete all of the green on the upper surfaces (multiple colors to represent weathering).

The benefit is bigger than just having put more completed models on the shelf at the end of the year. It’s about feeling a sense of achievement and satisfaction in the midst of a long work week. I find a new sense of happiness the morning after these productive sessions and it stays with me through the day.

This mindset might work for you. The next time you’re too tired to do some modeling, force yourself to do something at the workbench, anything. You may find the energy that I have.


  1. This advice has helped me a lot. I've recently switched to a much more demanding and time-consuming job and hanging on to any of my modelling time or energy has been a challenge. Setting modest goals for an hour or so at the bench or in front of the TV helps me keep a feeling of continuity and progress, even if it is measured in millimeters!

  2. That's great to hear! "The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People" refers to this as sharpening the saw. Well done!