Heck, how do I design games when I’m lucky to find time to write a blog post? The sad fact is, some of us are just too crazy busy! We need to take a step back and review our lives, reorganize and reset our priorities. We need to trim the fat and remind ourselves what’s really important!
Me, I already watch almost zero TV—mostly just an occasional movie, and have slimmed down the number of hobbies weighing me down. You can’t do everything, nor can you be great at everything. Most of us can and should cut back on what we’re doing. But what about my dreams? Ah, well, that’s a bit different, but even so, we need to approach them realistically.
With all that I’ve already cut back, I still find it hard to find time to design games, much less play them. That said, I’ve been working long hours all year so far, so I have less time than many, which makes it even more difficult. Thankfully, this big deadline is almost behind me (it was extended a month and a half after already being extended, but supposedly my hours will be cut back quite a bit soon! And since I’m salary, that’s exciting).
If you are like me, you might be second-guessing your dreams about now, especially if you have little money to see them come true! (Don’t feel bad, I have piles of products waiting on funding, and Kickstarter is NOT the financial Easy Button many people thought it was). But all is not lost! There is hope for busy people, but it might mean more trimming, or at least more effective use of our remaining time.
We all need to live balanced lives and have our priorities straight—even if we aren’t revamping a huge RPG, campaign setting, writing books, board and card games or nursing our relationships with spouse and kids, while serving at church! Something has to give, and the last thing you want to do is stress your relationship with your loved ones, neglect God, work, bills, etc. So, in that sense, your dreams do take a back seat. But chances are, you are doing some things that can be trimmed—and should be (few shows on TV are worth your time, seriously, folks), and if you want to be productive, you have to actually sit down and do something.
How do I keep up such a rigorous schedule without sacrificing relationships, etc.? It’s not easy! There are segments of our day that are less important or could be done while doing something else. Multitasking, friends! When I walk my lil Chiweenie I’m brainstorming my next short story, card game, etc. and then summarize my brainstorm before I forget it upon returning home. I keep a clipboard in my truck and while driving and I brainstorm, review, analyze concepts, etc. in between lights and then jot ’em down at stoplights (careful and watch for the light to turn green!) My guess is there are down times (doctor’s office, downtime over your lunch break), etc. in which you could do a bit of work daily on your dream.
Now, sometimes you need to just carve out a solid hour or two to get some of the more complex bits done (you can’t write a novel while driving, though you can flesh out a character’s motivations). Look for holes in your day, but also remember we need to rest too. Live and play in moderation and don’t stress yourself out trying to be productive. Create realistic goals and break down larger projects into manageable chunks!
Cutting out activities can be painful. I’m a bit of a workaholic, but I regularly remind myself what’s really important and weigh my time carefully. I always break large projects down into small ones and rejoice over the little accomplishments (they all add up to big ones in the end after all!) Like I said, it’s not easy, but if you have realistic expectations, a solid battleplan as to how you are going to move forward, fit effective segments of time into your day and your week, you will always be making progress toward your dreams!
Routinely evaluate how you spend your time to make sure you aren’t getting off track, and to make sure you haven’t allowed time-wasters to creep in. Money is nice, but it can’t buy you time. Time is one of your most valuable possessions! Never give up my friends!