Keeping motivation constant with max time split

Discussion in 'Indie Related Chat' started by FiNiPa, Dec 6, 2008.

  1. FiNiPa

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    Hi,

    I feel a bit unmotivated and down. Why? Because my spare working time ist split into smallest pieces and is even not predictable. Mostly I have to work, when my two little children are in bed, that's also the moment where I am mentally totally exhausted. Then I often make some recreation, watching tv or talking with my wife. And then, when I am regenerated enough, I start working, let's say from 22:00 PM to 02:00 AM. I have to get up at 6:30 AM. Most often my sleep is interrupted one or two times, because my youngest one wakes up. After a few weeks I am totally exhausted, and am not able to work for several days, trying to regenerate a little by getting to bed earlier.
    Yeah, I'm a houseman, we (my wife and me) thought it would be possible to work spare time on my indie business, but with our second child it's nearly impossible.
    Unfortunately my wife has a exhausting job too, so she is only able to take the kids on saturday, so I can work more in one piece. But working on saturdays only is not so easy. I loose time getting into my project again, finding out where I left and so on.

    Now what I am interested in, is whether someone else is in a comparable situation (concerning ultra splitted working time, not the houseman situation) and has found a way to keep on track and motivated. I find it so difficult to stay on focus, when even the smallest tasks take so long to finish. My mind continues working, even though I cannot work on my computer. I have new ideas and so on and already have a big list of todo's that would fill me up for a minimum of a year or more. But once the evening arrived I am so dreadfully mentally tired that I don't want to think or move or do anything else.

    I never had this, when I was working spare time on a 'normal' job and spending the rest for my indie work. But now....

    So any suggestions besides giving it up for the next two years (kindergarten ;) )?

    Thanks
     
  2. ChiefRedThunder

    ChiefRedThunder New Member

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    maybe you could contract some of your work out.
     
  3. BarrySlisk

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    Adoption.....
     
  4. FiNiPa

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    Adoption? Hmmm, i'll have to talk about it with my wife ;)

    Contracting would be cool, but first I would need enough revenues to be able to pay for it, but as I have this time problem I also have a little contracting problem...

    What I should clearly would like to state here is: my children, my education. Of course I could go to work 100% too and put my children in a full time placement, but that's what both of us never wanted. So, I am looking for a way to be able to advcance slowly but at least advance. Keeping on focus and motivated is the problem with all the these interruptions.

    Right now I am developping a website about children and hearing problems and want to offer my hearing-test program as freeware and maybe earn some money with ads or donations. After that I can start a new project more freely. Mainly a game.I had myself scheduled for end of novembre but I am only half finished and I am afraid that I won't be finished in decembre ;( Hopefully january...?
     
  5. AlexWeldon

    AlexWeldon New Member

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    You seem to have the common problem among creative people of ideas coming at you faster than you can implement them. You need to filter them more strongly... focus only on the best ones, not the most recent ones. You also need to plan your project, and break it down into blocks that you should be able to complete in a single session. That way you don't have to figure out where you're at, you can just look at your calendar and say, "Right. This Saturday, I'm doing the scoring system and the high score screen," or whatever.

    Speaking of adoption, a few months ago I suggested the idea of an "idea adoption centre" for the benefit of people like you and me, as well as less creative but more motivated people who actually complete projects, but have a harder time coming up with original ideas. When you've just had a great idea, it's hard to let it go, while ones you've been working on for a while seem less interesting.

    I'll probably put something like that in the forums on my site, when I build it; people with ideas they don't have time to work on (mostly me, at first, I imagine) can post them... people looking for inspiration can come and browse through; if they see something they like, they can "call dibs" and flag it to say that they've started work on it; maybe they have to come back once every couple of months to give a status report - if they abandon it, or fail to report, it goes back in the pool. People can also rate ideas based on how much they'd like to see something done, and how easy they think it would be to do... that way, the ideas with the most public interest for the least work will rise to the top. No payment for the person whose idea it was, though it will be suggested that credit and/or a free copy of whatever it is would be a nice gesture.
     
  6. FiNiPa

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    Yes, yes yes, how true :eek: But I still am able to (even if it's really tough) concentrate on one main project, and having some other future projects I do some brainstorming or design things on. Just to a point where implemantation could slowly begin. All things I can do while NOT sitting in front of a pc.

    I think I am a typical developer who could easily be working for a long time in a high tower, all on it's own, sometimes a nice espresso, and be finished with it in one piece.

    Sometimes, if possible I grab my notebook and just go to a student library that is opened until midnight and work there. Unfortunately this isn't always possible...

    Edit: Oh, about Adoption of ideas, hmmm, a great altruistic idea, but i think that ideas are not what are missing. Everybody thinks that they have the very best ideas, but actually finishing a project is the tough part. Those with no ideas could always ask those with too much ideas for a partnership. But I think developers are often too much of a one-man-gang.
     
  7. kevintrepanier

    Original Member Indie Author

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    Hey! I'm teaching Flash so I work outside one day a week and one or two extra days at home for preparations and corrections. I have a 3 month old baby and my girlfriend is staying at home (parental vacations).

    Yes, babies are quite unpredictable and I find myself working from 22h to 2 or 3 in the morning on my own project at least 2 days a week. I found that it is the best time for me but I'm also getting up more like at 9-10 in the morning (not 6h30...).

    Since me and my girlfriend are both creative people, we both want time for our own stuffs and so we came up with something that works well. We made a weekly calendar with time alloted to each for creative work. And so, I have the full tuesday afternoon to work and my girlfriend have the full thursday afternoon. While I'm working she agress to take care of the baby and vice-versa.

    This is great since we are both at home most of the time but if your wife is working outside, maybe you could / should find some other external help (you parents or her's, friends) that could babysit the childs at your place or theirs. I'm fully convinced that children should not be educated by only two people anyway. I'm sure they would appreciate have someone else regularly come to play with them. Moreover, if you have your creative time, you will be much less stressed, and your child will benefit from that too! (I know I am much more stressed and frustrated if I don't get any creative time!!)
     
  8. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    My motivation is on the floor at the moment.

    Got a 4wk old baby and I haven't been able to grab more than half an hour here and there to code in that time. Since I can't find a large enough window of opportunity to get some serious work done, I just don't see the point in trying to do anything at all. All I've done in the last month is mess with some OpenAL stuff.

    Maybe things will settle down soon.
     
  9. JGOware

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    heh...had this problem with my 3 kids (think of 3 children, ages 1 year apart).. luckily they're all grown up now and out of the house. :) But as I deal with a.d.d. as well I have learned over the years the best thing to do is get some form of a design document done and stick to it. The design document should be as detailed as you can make it. Think of the design document as your boss. When working for "the man" there is no time to fiddle with code, check forums, surf prn, etc. :eek: You are forced to actually be productive. So once you have the design document in place, just start working on it, in small amounts at a time. If a step is too broad, break it down into smaller chunks. It's amazing how productive even short programming sessions can be (30-60min) when you know what you're supposed to be coding. ;)
     
  10. FiNiPa

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    @kevintrepanier: Well that's what we try to do. 'Normally' (you never will have normallity with children anymore ;) ) I have the wednesday when she comes home and the saturday. I try to work outside in a library, but as the smallest one is very young (18months) I always tray to be back for dinner or sleeping time, because she doesn't sleep well without seeing me :eek:

    Unfortunately we don't have any granparents anymore, at least not living in a radius from 2:30 hours, so no go. My biggest children is 6 years old and at school from 8 to 11:45. And afterwords it's homework, dinner, sports, art, friends etc. It would have been easier with two nearly equally adged children, but 5 years of difference is problematic, seen timewise.

    @Desktop Gaming: 4weeks? wow, congratulations! But .... well.... how should I say.... it will get much worse with your free time :eek: Starting when they start crawling or walking. With her 18 months it's pure horror in the moment! She is full of energy and NEVER EVER stops, only when she sleeps.... Nothing is secure anymore. If something she want is to high, she grabs a chair and on she goes... So good luck and always stay relaxed :rolleyes:

    (But i's still wonderfull......)
     
  11. FiNiPa

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    I find it terribly difficult to split tasks in small parts. How can you split thoughts? Or you have a problem or a solution? It makes me crazy not being able to continue when I have a sort of a ultra-productive and creative boost. Having to wait another 18 hours or even several days is devastating for my mood. I guess my patience is what is missing, used it all up for my children ;)

    But I will try to plan beforehead. Before I stop I will try to make a concrete plan where I want to continiue next time. And when I restart I will try to really stick at my plan.

    So for example, if I have 60 minutes to work, I'll plan 15 mins for warming up and getting into the project again, 30 mins working, and 15 minutes for planning of the next task for my next 'free' time. How's that??

    Unfortunately it's always the unpredictable that forces me to leave my plan. Another bug, another incompability, and so on, all that leads me away from my main path.

    ohohoh....
     
  12. AlexWeldon

    AlexWeldon New Member

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    That's what I usually say... but once in a while you see a thread pop up on the forum with someone fishing for an idea. Also, ideas tend to reproduce, split apart, merge with one another... if someone has the beginnings of an idea for a game but isn't sure where to go with it, surfing through a bunch of other people's ideas might make something click:

    E.g. Geez, I was thinking about this mechanic as being for a zombie game, but that's such a cliche. Also, it might run into balance problems if the player wasn't confined to a long, narrow area, like a corridor.

    Oh, here's this other guy's idea for a cowboy/steampunk game. His setting is super-cool, and some of his mechanics might actually fit into mine quite well. As for the narrow area thing, it could take place on a train. Bingo! Player is a mercenary hired to guard important trains in a Steampunk/Wild West setting. An evil scientist has released a mind-control gas on board, turning the passengers into violent automatons (explaining the zombie-like behaviour) as part of a plan to rob the train.

    Okay, maybe not the coolest game ever, but I just made that up on the fly as an example of how people might take part of their own idea + part of someone else's and improve on both in the process.

    P.S. Start teaching your kids Basic as soon as they turn four. By the time they're pre-teens, you can make them your codemonkeys, thereby killing two birds with one stone. :) Or teach one to code, and the other to draw and use Photoshop.
     
  13. Acord

    Acord New Member

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    The really sick part is that I intend to do this when I have children... And BTW: Start teaching them when they're 2.5 - 3 years old so they can be prodigies. For some reason, that's when artists, chess players etc. pick up their best abilities.
     
  14. FiNiPa

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    Well you know, something that I have learned is that children are not young adults. Every children is completely different and you can't impose anything on them they don't really want. They can really be stubborn as hell :rolleyes:

    I think the age of 8 upwards is more realistic in terms of being a 'helping hand'. But I must admit that my first thoughts (before knowing reality) were like yours :)

    Now I know why my parents never told me how it would be with children, pure revenge :D
     
  15. AlexWeldon

    AlexWeldon New Member

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    You don't want your kids to be prodigies, though. Prodigies tend to burn out by the time they're teenagers and go insane, kill themselves or get into drugs. You want smart, talented kids, but you don't want to pressure them to be super-human.
     
  16. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Firestarter, twisted firestarter?

    :D
     
  17. FiNiPa

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    Correct! I have two girls and the world surely doesn't need two new Paris Hiltons :D
     
  18. Christian

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    I never had the responsablity of a family, but in the past i felt overwhemled by work, study, and game dev. Since a few months ago i have kept good "flow" of work though, here are some things that helped me:

    I think that people can actually focus on too many things at a time, and when that happens nothing works, you become overwhelmed, and mentally tired, and youll loose your motivation. You really cant take so many things at a time, human beigns are not good for mutlitasking, instead try this:

    1- Chose a very very specific goal*
    2- set a date for when you want it finished
    3- focus on working on it for chunks of 2 hours at a time

    *Not goals like "i want to finish my game by...", but even more specific goals like "i want to fix this bug by tomorrow at x time", or "implement fade in and fade outs for intro and outro of stages in 4 hours", or "Finish the visual design of a character by x date", and so on. Go from choosing a general goal like "i want a map editor by x date" to specific technical goals like "copy/paste regions of tiles by x date".

    Most importantly, dont let your mind change its focus worrying in other things to do, this will overwhelm your brain, instead try to give your brain an easier job by focusing in one thing at a time.

    Second, plan your day, have a schedule and keep it, serously keep it. Focus and keeping a schedule are skills that come with practice and discipline. This is all about getting the most productivity of your time, time = money (money=very valuable).

    Take one day off to rest and relax, if you dont relax you wont have the energy necesary for when you have to work, recharge, this is not beign lazy, you invetsing your time to recharge your mind, and let your mind rest so that its 100% of efficiency again. Take some time to relax in the day also.

    You have to know if you are taking more things that you can actually handle. I worked for many months to save some money so that i could work more easely on making games (i focused on my work only), maybe you could do the same.
     
  19. FiNiPa

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    The difference between normal stress and childreb stress is that children won't let you think in one piece. They know exactly when you start relaxing ;) Maybe you can compare it a little bit, with the an office job, where you need to concentrate on a difficult task, but the phone rings constantly every few minutes or even seconds and you MUST answer it. Sometimes it's something urgent, sometimes a new task you have to push inbetween or it's your mother wanting to discuss your marriage. Now imagine you have two phones :)

    But thanks for your thoughts, I will try to add them. Point 1 isn't an easy one, because the more time passes between my working sessions the more it find it difficult to recalibrate on my main project.

    I already did 2, but I need to stretch all quit a lot more than I used to, more a stretch*2 or 3

    2 hours is sometimes luxury and I can never really predict how much time I will have this day.
     
  20. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    O/T, but I took this pic of mine today :)

    Wanted a pic of her with her eyes open, but she's much happier posing for 'asleep' shots. :D

    [​IMG]
     

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