The biggest shortcut I have have discovered is proper planning. One has to approach the project from the most basic elements. The first being room preparation - ie: electrical requirements, lighting, walls and ceiling and flooring. Next is a track plan. After the track plan has been finalized, benchwork can be designed. Here, again, careful thought must be put into where certain features, such as rivers, mountains, etc. will be located. What type of construction will you be using? Do you want Homasote put down over the tabletop? There are many questions that you must ask yourself as your plan develops. Once all of the questions have been answered you have a plan to work with. After everything is put to paper the construction actually goes pretty quickly and there are not many surprises.