If You Stand Still, You Fall Behind: An Exploration of Balance Between Work and Life
Thus far, the week has been rugged. With the release of a Mini-Mission for Agents of Oblivion, the next Iron Dynasty Kesshi Tale, and the announcement of Super Genius Games coming on board to do support materials for Realms of Cthulhu, how could it be otherwise? If someone else was handling the layout, it wouldn’t be quite as much work, but I’m doing that as well as generating new content. Curious what I worked on? Well, I worked with Kristian some on Life After Death, pitched in on an unannounced project for another friend, spoke with another friend about how to write materials for the industry, and managed to squeeze in time to write another RunePunk Guidebook. The thing is, this is a normal week. Nothing unusual about it. My last few weeks of relative lightness were the aberration. If you stand still, you fall behind.
Let’s explore this a bit. I’ve got a chat thing with Beautiful Brains in a bit, so I’ve got a little time, and who needs free time, right?
I’ve been told by family and friends I’m a workaholic. I never imagined I was. This first was brought to my attention a few months ago. I’ve never, ever imagined I would be classified as such, yet if I reflect at the hours I’ve put in this past year and the amount of products I’ve pushed out the door and how I work almost every single, day, I cannot help but see the truth of this. I’m working a plan. Do I want to work the long hours I’ve done for so long forever? Absolutely not. To accomplish anything of worth, you have to put in some sweat equity, and make a few sacrifices here and there.
People wonder how I do it. I have the same hours in my day as everyone else. I don’t have a secret bank account filled with them hidden away in the Swiss Alps or anywhere. I just use them as efficiently as possible. During the work day, I do make calls and socialize from time to time, but generally they are with a purpose and most of them revolve in some way, shape, or form with writing, gaming, and the publishing business. Even when I’m sharing information with others, I’m still working. I’m refining my thought process, cultivating relationships (of which some turn into friendships, always nice), or, at the very least, am blowing off steam. I’m a social creature. That’s an odd confession for someone sequestered away most of the time. I imagine there are monks in ancient, hidden temples who see more folks than I generally do. My socialization just takes different forms. For now.
What I do is focus intensely on whatever it is that needs doing and get it done. I block out distractions. I buckle down and do it. It takes passion. It takes commitment. It even takes a little bit of madness from time to time. I admire my friends who are established or who are taking their first cautious steps into the industry. It’s certainly not for everyone.
But, back to the balance issue. I spread my time around. I get up early and work about twelve hours or less each day during the week. On the weekends, I’ll generally work four or so hours a day. If I get beyond that, I get tired, cranky, and my work suffers. I get dangerously close to burning out. I’ve been able to adjust my schedule when I see my passion and, thus, my productivity falter. You have to find your rhythm. You have to learn your habits. Like anything, don’t overdo it. Hold just a touch back each day (unless it’s the final, wrap up day and that’d be silly) and you’ll find yourself more readily able to jump into your project and make greater strides.
Hope you cats find this of some use. I gotta run! Things to do!
Until next time, I bid you, dear reader, adieu!