Hey man, don't worry about it, it took me 40 days to paint a Devilfish. Just don't worry about it, it takes what it takes, there's people with newborn kids that have extremely minimal time out there but they keep at it whenever they can. Here's some tips that have worked for me :
1. You mentioned about setting up the paintstation. I suggest getting a portable lamp and one of GW's portable paintstations and keep them both at arms length. I play the guitar and it works the same way, if it's too far away or takes too long to pick up, you're probably not going to do it.
2. Make sure your paints are stored and organized in a way that you can locate a specific paint pot without having to dig through a bunch of them.
3. Base your minis in temporary holders. Cork, pill boxes, anything that lets you get a grip on the thing and rotate it. GW has a paint handle they sell but you don't really need a specific product. I use cylindrical pill boxes with some white tac to hold the miniature base.
4. Paint in subassemblies when possible, i.e. for a fire warrior I'll glue torso, legs, grenades/pistols and backpack together and keep the head and arms separate. I can't even imagine how people can paint a decent miniature with everything glued together.
5. Paint in batches but try to find the optimal size of the batch. Trying to paint 10 firewarriors at once is probably going to make you want to kill yourself. I usually paint 2-3 firewarriors at a time and 3-4 drones.
6. Obviously, prime, basecoat and varnish with a spray or an airbrush. Airbrushes don't just save time, they also lay down a far superior basecoat in terms of surface smoothness. Varnishes in particular are a no-go for me if we're not talking aibrush or spray can as they will almost always end up in a horrible brushstroke hell. If you don't have an airbrush and you consider buying one for speed of operations, consider the following. a) you don't need an expensive one, b) you do need a compressor with a tank, and that may cost you 3-4 times what the airbrush itself does, c) they do take time to figure out, d) you always need to thouroughly clean it. It will eventually become a time saver, but it requires some investment. Short term it will slow you down and you may end up with some ruined models so, short term spray cans are cheaper, both in time and money. Long term, no comparison.
7. After basecoats have been layed down, seal your miniature with a satin varnish. This will allow you to do two things. Perfect panel lining with pin washes (yes, even with acrylics) and, perhaps more importantly, it will provide you with a save point. You can erase minor mistakes with some acrylic thinner, water or even your own spit if your paint is thin enough. Washes for example can easily be removed with a wet finger. Be gentle with the thinner, obviously, it will eat through the varnish if you poke on the same spot obsessively for too long.
8. Try to paint a little each day if possible. Even 30 mins is *some* progress. This is where a portable, quick to set up paint station pays off. If it takes you 10 mins to set up and 10 mins to pack it back down, you're obviously not going to invest those 30 minutes in between.
9. Don't strip badly painted models if you can afford it. Keep them around as test dummies, e.g. "I wonder how GW's gloss washes look over metallics".
10. This one's going to sound a bit weird because it actually takes time. Write your recipes down. Like, really write them down, step by step. Not because you might forget what you did (which some people do, I definitely do) but because you can then reorder them in the most efficient way. Once you've done that, you can just execute them like an algorithm. For instance, if one step is varnishing with an airbrush or spray, you want that to happen before you lay down your metallics. If you're washing, you might want to group your washes together, so you don't sit there waiting for a half wet model to dry. Having an efficient order of operations pays off. Obviously another benefit of this is that you don't need to remeber your mix ratios. 3:2 Dark Reaper to Abaddon Black, by the way, such an awesome colour for rubber tubes, cloaks etc (highlight with Dark Reaper, further highlight with Thunderhawk Blue, pin highlight with Celestra Grey, awesome, awesome stuff). Try to see if you can recall that from memory after a year or so.
11. Don't underestimate the drybrush. If you're gentle and patient enough with it you can end up with perfect highlighting. You can then clean up the dirtied area by reapplying the basecoat (or, if you've varnished, with thinner).
12. Edge highlighting becomes a lot easier with a good brush. Bascially, everything becomes a lot easier with a good brush. Invest in a couple, they're not that expensive and they last a long time. Another thing you need is either a wet palette or some retarder fluid. Both of these will keep the paint from drying on your brush when you're highlighting.
13. Washes can be feathered out with some thinner on your brush. This allows you to remove that distinct coffee stain look on the edges of where the wash has dried out. Obviously this is a lot faster over a coat satin varnish.
14. There's a thing I often do that I call inverse drybrush, doesn't work on every surface but it's awesome for anything with deep creases, an ideal example is the Lord Of Contagion's upper cloak. What you do is you drown the surface with Nuln Oil, wait for it to dry, drown it again, wait for it to dry. Once that's dry, you go back and drybrush heavily (like, really heavily) with the basecoat colour. This will give you a great blend which I sincerely doubt I could do faster with traditional blending techniques. Can't really find a place for it in Tau Empire models though.
15. Get a flat angled brush and basecoat with that. A lot faster and a far smoother surface. GW has some but Army Painter has two distinct sizes and are overall better.
16. Get a small flat brush, the smaller you can get, as long as it's flat. I use that primarily for feathering washes and to clean up with thinner but it's overall a very versatile tool.
17. GW's gemstone paints are better than they look on first sight and they're great timesavers if you don't want to spend a lot of time with your lenses and scopes.
18. To basecoat metallics, a rather loaded drybrush (some people call it an overbrush) produces the best results and you don't really have to worry about the paint drying on your brush, brushstrokes etc.
19. Don't shoot yourself in the leg by priming black when you're aiming for a bright/pale/light basecoat. If you can prime with the colour of your basecoat that's even better. In general, when in doubt, prime white or light grey.
20. The best basecoat for gold is silver.