Monday, August 18, 2014

Progress does not always equal Accomplishment

I should be frustrated about yesterday's work session, but I'm not. Roman & Pieter came over for the afternoon and I had a long punch list of to-do items we could go through. I still have it. Nothing's crossed off.

Having a variety of to-do items is nice since then, hopefully, there's always something that folks are interested in doing. Unfortunately, other than some super-simple items which really didn't merit our combined effort (like "snip coupler pins off engine #3304" "change bell ring rate"), the remaining items all seemed to require something that I didn't have ready - either in terms of supplies or thought.

Lack of supplies is the more frustrating. I should have enough on-hand in order to accomplish the listed task. Like paint. I need to pre-paint some structure parts before assembly, and I didn't have the right paint in stock. So one of the things Pieter and I did was go to the store and get some paint. But we didn't paint anything.

Lack of thought - well, that's a little frustrating. It's frustrating to realize you didn't think through the implications of a certain approach and as a result you're stymied. But trying to avoid "lack of thought" all too often leads most of us - me, certainly - into Analysis Paralysis. You end up going to the basement and spending all your time staring at the layout. Thinking, but not doing.

But I've found one of the antidotes to this: Having somebody else over to help you think through things. With another perspective, and another suitcase of experience to offer, having a friend or friends over to stare at the layout with you will - more often than not - aid your thinking, and keep you from falling into the Analysis Paralysis trap.

Roman worked on some photo backdrop ideas (another source of frustration, which I'll discuss - perhaps - in a future post), but he and Pieter helped most by helping me think through some things: structure choice & placement, road additions, industry siding modifications, and - yes - backdrop options.

The fact that we didn't "accomplish" anything during the time we were together is really beside the point. We were able to get together for a dedicated block of time to discuss the layout, its future, what we want to accomplish, different approaches. Those kinds of discussions are extremely valuable, and help move the ball further. Even decisions about what not to do are, in their own way, "progress."

So thank you Pieter and Roman for coming over yesterday. I know we didn't accomplish much, but as far as I'm concerned, we made a lot of progress. And that's always the result of a good work session.

(that all said - I promise to make up a bucket of Ground Goop for the next work session.... ;^)


  1. So you need a good 'bull session' to pave the way for a good work sesson. Maybe that's why I don't make as much progress as I'd one to regularly shoot the bull with. Be thankful for model railroad-inclined friends! Maybe I should invite a few guys over...

  2. Thanks for stopping by Galen! Yes, I can't recommend highly enough that you get some model railroad buddies if you can - or even railroad fans that aren't modelers. They'll certainly help keep you inspired - and you'll have a natural tendency to want to have new progress to show (not to mention, as you pointed out, having folks to bounce ideas off of). If you *do* invite a few guys over, be sure to let us know how it goes!