I found myself restarting several times within about 50 turns, getting more and more right every time. One helpful feature is that, if you don't have any research selected, it'll remind you if you try to end turn. Unfortunately, it doesn't do the same with construction, and as far as I know there's no benefit to having no construction ( if I have nothing I want to build, I usually do manufacture to science ).
Also, I find myself sometimes neglecting research in certain branches. Say I want to get all the colonization options fast, which I often do. That leads to neglecting the science and labor trees, which provide really useful bonuses early on ( like strategic resources ).
I still find myself often outpaced by the AI, barely matching it on Easy, and combat can be difficult. Or, rather, designing efficient ships can be hard. But screw that. You can design your own ships! Want a capital ship which obliterates the enemy in the first turn with missiles - or one that sacrifices long-range capabilities for close-range armor and punch? YOU CAN HAVE IT.