Well, it’s officially official now – you know, the whole terrifying thing of quitting my job to work on games full time. I’m scared. I’m excited. I’ll have more to say pretty soon.
For today, I want to talk a bit about how I’m going to manage my time now that it’s truly mine to spend.
I know myself: I don’t necessarily respond all that well to rigid structures, but I do respond well to gimmicks and patterns. Weird, right?
So, in order to succeed at this being-my-own-boss thing I plan to assign each day of the week a theme or focus. This way my days are always different, yet (hopefully!) are always focused on the right thing.
Here’s the plan, one day at a time:
Start it on Sunday
Sunday is pretty straightforward – it’s time to plan for the upcoming week.
I’m guessing that planning is going to be pretty important for solo work, so on Sundays I’m going to go through my Kanban board and plan out exactly how I want the week to go.
What features should I focus on? What bugs need fixing? Is there a release or other special event going on this week? I don’t want to wait for Monday to think about these things, so instead I’ll start it all on Sunday.
(I will try to avoid working too much, though!)
Here’s an obvious statement for you: I don’t like Mondays. Who does? Now that I’m on my own I’m trying to twist it around, because Mondays don’t need to be bad. In fact, I’m going to attempt to use Monday to get motivated
How? Well, a whole bunch of ways! I’m going to do fun things, like play video games, or inspirational things, like play video games, or something related to my work, like….well, you get it. It won’t always be video games but it’ll definitely be something I want to do.
I’m going to let the work – and the motivation to do it – find me on Monday instead of the other way around. That way I always start the week on the right foot: happy, motivated, and inspired.
Video games are a lot of things – bits and bytes of code, art, music, writing, and a whole bunch else. While it’s important to strike a balance between them all, the technical side – the actual code, the source control, the libraries and tools and all that other stuff – that all needs to be focused on and polished on a regular basis.
In a lot of ways the technical side is the most important one: “Technical Debt” isn’t just a business buzzword – it’s a very real project killer, and I could drown in it now that I’m on my own.
This’ll be the day to learn good practices – or correct the bad. Cleanup unused branches. Pay off technical debt. Comment and refactor code. Kill bugs. That sorta thing!
Ok, I actually don’t know what to do on Wednesday yet. I’m thinking Wednesday will be a true wildcard and be a hodgepodge of a lot of things.
Remember all stuff about how the technical side is the most important one for games? Forget that. On Thursdays I’m going to minimize the amount of techy stuff I work on and instead focus on the thinking side: the analytics, process and product maps, game design and theory, reading books, other creative works, etc.
If most my week is spent programming and fixing things then I’m hoping Thursdays will be a good break and a refreshing change of pace. Plus, it’ll serve as a fantastic springboard into…
Yeah! This’ll be my favorite day of them all. Each Friday will have one major goal: pick at least one big feature – maybe it’s already in progress, or maybe it’s brand new – and work like crazy on it.
Implement it, refine it, make it awesome, share it, get feedback, then do it all over again.
Feature Fridays are meant to be the ultimate culmination of the week. I get motivated on Monday, lay a technical foundation on Tuesday, do whatever on Wednesday, think a lot on Thursday, and by Friday I’m ready to see something major to completion and share it with the world.
(Or at least with the subset of the world that cares to see it.)
Saturdays are for Looking Back & Cleaning Up
Finally we reach the weekend again.
Weekends are going to be weird; I need them, much in the same way that any human needs a break from work. But I also want to maximize my time and make sure I’m making the best use that I can – that includes working on weekends.
I won’t do a ton of work on Saturday, but I do want to accomplish at least two things:
- Do a retrospective on the previous week, figuring out what went right and what went wrong
- Clean up the inevitable mess I made the previous week
- This includes cleaning my desk and work area, but also files on my computer, my email, and everything else
In this way I can feel productive and ready to go on Sunday – where it starts all over again!