Learning In Progress #4: Making time… with a vengeance!

One of the biggest production bottlenecks on my project is my ability to implement art into the game. I’m essentially serving as art director (jointly with our lead designer), art manager, lead artist, and I have other producery and technical artisty responsibilities as well. There isn’t enough time in the day to do everything I need to do, and when you have a team of artists that need constant feedback on their work, it’s exceedingly difficult to make time for some things.

In this case, the production aspect that gets crunched is the implementation phase, which is difficult, complex and time-consuming. Since I can’t very well commission art that I never put in the game, I needed to start making time to put the art in the game. I’ve tried that before but I constantly get distracted by minor emergencies and end up never getting anything done.

I always wished I could have a day away from everyone to just sit down and crank away on art and get it in the game without any outside distractions. But unfortunately, I’m in a position of great responsibility and I really can’t afford to take that kind of time away from other things. I mean, lots of people depend on me, and art, as a whole, does NOT happen unless I’m doing it. I’m always just so crushed for time that I can’t divert myself even for a moment.

Or can I?

I thought about it and realized that, no matter how much time I set aside to work, be it 9 hours a day or 18 hours, I always get about the same amount of work done. Every time. I found that interesting: No matter how much time I have, I always use it all getting something done.

Naturally, at the extreme ends of the scale (2 hours a day vs 22 hours a day) I’d see significant differences in my output, but it got me to thinking that four days a week (plus the time I spend working from home) can neatly accomodate all my other responsibilities without the world ending.

So, emboldened by this realization, I decided I’m taking Wednesdays off from everyone. I call them “Fuck Everybody Wednesdays.” I shut off my IM, I shut off my email, I don’t answer my phone and I do NOTHING but start putting art in the game. I tell all my artists and coworkers in advance that, from now on, I’m having nothing to do with them on Wednesdays, and any issues can wait until Thursday, no matter what they are.

So far it’s been working out extremely well. 🙂 I’m steadily cranking out new art in the game, and the freedom from distraction has enabled me to come up with a lot of new ideas for making the process easier, and even automating it in some cases. What a difference that self-discipline and focus can make!

Never say you don’t have enough time, because you’re probably wrong. Just make time. Everything will sort itself out. 🙂

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