I agree! I got caught in the same predicament and solved it by building a 2nd workshop and now I build 2 workshops every time. It allows me to go faster.
I think what you’re alluding to is that upgrading has so many prerequisites - when going to level 2, you need apples and a cider press so I’ve learned not to even start until I have both of those operational and producing cider.
I’m in the middle of scenario 5 where you upgrade to level 3, and it’s much more involved. I need wheat, flour, bread, paper and binding so you can imagine my level 3 workshop has been idle for some time while I try to get all these other things up & running. The good news is I still have a level 2 workshop running since I run with 2 all the time.
Layout space is very tight right now and I haven’t even begun to build any of the level 3 buildings.
It is kind of charming to play - there is a bit of tension when you do your first battle and learn how important and crucial the placement of watchtowers are.