Get on top of your game – Game Designers Can Balance Life & The Dream
I am sorry for not blogging for a while – not because people are waiting for me to say something – but because someone noticed I had not been blogging in a while and wanted to know WHAT was wrong. So I would just like to say that nothing is wrong – I have just been very busy – and yes, maybe just a little too busy to blog – or maybe I traded that extra time for something else I really wanted to do.
I was speaking to a designer today via email – and he asked me an interesting question.
When you first started your company up, were you working a day job at the same time? I know it’s a little foolish to think I can quit my job and support a family off game design, but I’d like to think I’ll get there some day. I’ve been having trouble balancing my day job and putting in a lot of time with the game.
Actually when I started my company I went on job interviews for nearly 2 years – and finally realized I was deliberately blowing interviews and did not – or could not – work for anyone else any longer. I actually had no choice but to keep working for myself.
One thing I hear over and over from designers is questions about balance. I know I am a manufacturer of games and also now – a publisher – but I really am in the trenches with the development of many parts of different games – and I know what time crunches and trying to make time for everything in your life are about. And I am always looking for balance. Aspiring game designers suffer the same time problems as all of us – how do you balance your wished for career with a full time job – with family and responsibilities and make it all work?
I am in this full time – and I STILL have to figure out how to make it all work. So no matter what you are actually doing – or trying to accomplish – in our “speed of light” American work environment – you are going to be pressed for time. There are always going to be a TON of emails to answer – design work to do – things to figure out – family dinners to try to make – kids (or if you don’t have those yet – substitute the word people) that need attention – life and work are a balancing act. I think I made someone feel good today because I made him realize that – even though I am already DOING what I love – I still have the same issues with time management as anyone. I am NOT ANY BUSIER than anyone else.
When people say to me ” I know how busy you are” it really means – they are so busy that they cannot figure out how I just made the time to answer their email so fast.
How do I make time? Well – on weeks like this one – I push until I get ahead of my curve. I binge on emails and to do’s until I am literally caught up. My emails are less than 5 in my inbox – my spreadsheet is right up to date and I am taking breaks to try to take care of myself.
Since I am caught up I can do other things to help keep things on track. I drink more water and walk and exercise more – and try to stay WAY on top of my game – because it is something you always have to stay on top of. There is no slacking off when you want to achieve and accomplish and there is very little extra time. Still – I do get to binge on my favorite Netflix series – and ride my bike – take some time off – eat out – hang out – play music – (I started playing with the band again – I forgot how much I missed that) and then I am back at it in the am – working on the games – working on the business of games – and emailing hundreds of emails a day. I love it – and the main thing is try to structure yourself so that you still have time to live doing the things you love.
– Stay ahead of the curve. Work smart but don’t impose arbitrary deadlines on yourself – they will make you crazy. Meet the real deadlines and take time to do things for yourself once you are caught up. There are plenty of other people happy to push you – so go a little easy on yourself – eat better and ENJOY THE PROCESS MORE. Sometimes the process is as much or more fun than the outcome you are working on.
Get away from work once in a while to get perspective on your life. (Try to go further than walking away from the machine to the refrigerator!) Balance is something I work at constantly – and I may not be the best one to give advice on it – but I respect the need for it and I’d like to think that I remember to find it more than I forget.