It’s that time of year, but it’s fun and anyway once my audience has grown this blog post will be forgotten about. Indeed someday we’ll marvel together on how I never wrote such a cliched blog post.
I read this article this morning, and while I skimmed most of it really liked this bit:
“Do you know the meaning of ‘resolution’?” asked Dr. Caroline Cederquist, medical director for bistroMD and the Cederquist Medical Wellness Center. “It’s ‘solution,’ meaning you are solving a problem, with the prefix ’re,’ which usually means again. … We strive to solve a problem again and again and again.http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/30/health/new-years-resolutions-different/
I think that’s actually a really cool idea and it jives with another article I read which discusses focusing on systems instead of on goals. A
The Difference Between Goals and Systems
What’s the difference between goals and systems?
If you’re a coach, your goal is to win a championship. Your system is what your team does at practice each day.
If you’re a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your system is the writing schedule that you follow each week.
If you’re a runner, your goal is to run a marathon. Your system is your training schedule for the month.
If you’re an entrepreneur, your goal is to build a million dollar business. Your system is your sales and marketing process.
Finally, just to make this post more linktastic, Jeremy Neander gave a nice talk on goals for the year end at his 8th Light University session that you can watch here.
Giving Things Up
On thing I was thinking about his morning was just what I would give up to accomplish these goals. When we set goals we tend to act as if our day isn’t busy already. I don’t sleep 14 hours a night and I don’t sit around twiddling my thumbs, so if I’m going to take on new activities I need to free up time for them. As such I’m going to work on giving up the following:
- Purposeless web surfing. I’ve installed Rescue Time to watch out for this, and will probably drastically reduce twitter/facebook time.
- TV/Channel Surfing at night, replacing it with reading. I only have a couple shows I really watch. The others are just background noise.
- Tinkering - at least with non-game related stuff. Perhaps doing some timeboxed practice (such as exercism.io) as opposed to fiddling around (on a Unity tutorial when I’m not planning on doing Unity for a few months).
Become More Organized at Work
Over the last year I’ve done more project jumping and taken on more responsibility than ever before, and as such am busier than I’ve ever been. My problem is that I’ve been too busy reacting to crises to get proactive. In addition because I’m constantly reacting to crises, I’m consistently behind, forcing me to work from home at night or in the morning, thereby cutting into all the other things. Finally I could be more efficient at work, getting more done in less time, although that’s far less true than before.
I’ve tried dealing with this problem via the GTD method in the past, and it doesn’t work well for me anymore. As such I’m gonna try a new different approach:
- Each day starts with a TODO list. Anything that has to be done that day is on it first.
- Schedule increments of time to deal with the multiple projects and put it on my calendar.
- Leave by 5:30 every day. 5 if I’m in Chicago, which has a longer commute.
We’ll start this tomorrow, when I return to work, and re-evaluate on Fridays. I need to be able to work an effective, possibly intense, but 8 hour day so I can properly nurture my health, family, and other interests. I also need to have an effective idea of how much and what I’m working on, so I can say no to things, and finally I need to give better estimates of when I’ll be done with tasks to my clients and colleagues. It is my hope that handling this first resolution will enable more time for the others.
Develop Indie Game Dev into a Business
My long term goal is the same as always - pay off student loan debt with game development income. I believe that makes my Master’s degree worthwhile as opposed to a very expensive hobby. I’ve failed miserably at this in the year since I’ve finished school, and it depresses me to think that some of the skills I’ve learned have already fallen out of date. What I want to do is treat my Indie Game Development like a business, as opposed to a hobby.
I’ve begun tracking my time doing game development. I immediately saw I got one hour done the first week. This revealed the problem wasn’t a lack of skill, but a lack of time committed to development. So at least I’m not dumb, but it explains why nothing I worked on last year is worth selling. So it’s time for a system:
- Dev every day. Even if only for a few minutes. I created a Seinfeld Chain at http://dontbreakthechain.com/
- Track time spent. I’m using RescueTime to track this. Rather than focus on release dates focus on putting the time in. The games will come out.
- Marketing. I am going to need to develop a marketing plan, and I’ll do that Saturday, then integrate that into the system.
See http://paytonrules.com/software-development/2013/12/28/why-are-we-here.html for my write more strategy. Of course I’m breaking all of that right now. I’m going to participate in ScreenShot Saturday too.
Get in Better Shape
Last year I lost 20 lbs and started running again, doing two 5ks and getting my time down to 22 minutes. Given that I had a pretty aggravating calf injury leading up to the second one, I’m okay with that time. However my goal for next year is to improve it and keep a routine, which has fallen apart over the holidays.
- Run on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday mornings. Eventually I’ll start using the track again as weather allows.
- On Monday, Wednesday and Friday do the 7 minute workout followed by dips and pull ups to failure. This doesn’t take long and should be doable in the morning before I do some game development.
This is easily the hardest thing to balance as the best time to do game dev and work out is first thing in the morning. I may make game development an after-work activity, but only if I can start getting home before dinner more reliably.
Spend More Time with Family
I hate that this is at the bottom. The truth is I’ve been doing all the tasks above all year, but inefficiently. I am hoping that by making my time more systemic, I will be able to close the laptop more frequently, and play with family. In addition if I’m not downstairs at night working I’m upstairs with my wife. Eventually I may block of time that is family time, and nothing may invade.
Plow Through my Reading List
I love books, but I probably have 30 unread books floating around at any given time. I want to replace nightly TV watching with books. Start of a system anyway.
Okay that’s the whole thing. I’m tired, and in the spirit of my earlier comments on writing quickly, this sucker is going up.