Keep it managable - A quick guide to building maintaining and enjoying your empire

I've seen many layouts come and go over the years.  The answers are different for everyone, but I hope the following might save someone a disappointment or two.

 1. Realistically assess your resources and limitations BEFORE you commit! - This means EVERYTHING: spare time, spare money, your current skill level, your desire, physical limitations (both space-wise and your BODY!), your current lifestyle, stability, even your friends, neighbors, and most importantly your immediate family - including pets.


2. Prioritize and separate your 'needs' from your 'wants' - Unlike Barbie, you usually CAN'T have everything.... Set a minimum acceptable standard that fits with #1 and start there. You can always add more later. The bigger and more intricate, the more interest (sometimes), and the more work (always).


3. Don't be afraid to ask questions, then actually listen to the answer -  Even if it sounds simple and obvious, make sure you really understood it. The only 'dumb' question is the one you learned the answer to the hard/expensive way because you were too proud to ask.


4. Don't be afraid to start over - Before you can run a marathon, you have to be able to walk that far. EVERYBODY stumbles. EVERYBODY tries something that doesn't quite work out as planned. EVERY layout has had at least a FEW revisions. Yours might turn out to be the exception, but it probably won't.


 5. Practice patience - Just because it's overused and trite sounding doesn't make it less true; Rome WASN'T built in a day.... or even a week. Some stuff just takes time. Instant gratification is a Madison Avenue myth. Besides, if it WAS fast and easy, you probably wouldn't really appreciate it anyway.


6, Make a budget and stick to it - The easiest way to get yourself into trouble is to over commit, be it money or time.


7. Address little problems as they crop up -  Stuff rarely improves by itself. It ususally gets worse, and even if it doesn't, something else usually goes wron, too. Sounds depressing? Depressing is avoiding something that used to be fun because you let those little things get out of control like a snowball rolling downhill.


8. Ask for help - At some point everyone needs it. Some of us are blessed with a significant other that enjoys getting dirty and sweaty. Others have friends that they can rope into helping. Or, if you're really stuck, hire a pro....


9.Measure twice, cut once - Not just physically. Take time to think things all the way through before you decide to do something...


10. Git 'r Done -  Don't spend ALL your time thinking, or you're just daydreaming. Get out the shovel and go lay some track!


 There you have it, no fancy mumbo jumbo, and no sugar coating. What you DO with it is now up to you.

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