The Distraction Catch

Sorry for the missed post last week; as happens to everyone, life got in the way. Our pup unfortunately took ill and required a bit of hands-on care and monitoring for the entire week.

Which brings me to the subject of today.  At what point is it ok, during the process of designing and preparing a game, to simply say “I don’t have time for this today” and put a pin in the issue.

There are plenty of posts, podcasts and books that will tell you that you have to remain on a tight schedule for day-to-day production. You need to hit your goals, make your posts and live your hobby and profession if you wish to succeed. To be perfectly honest, I agree with that entirely; not very many people accidentally land in the role of game designer and make a career of it without having ground their fingers to the bone typing, revising, revisiting and iterating on every concept as the process moves forward.  In short, yes, you have to work your tail off.

But one thing that doesn’t come up much is whether or not there is such a thing as a situation- however brief- where you’re doing your future creativity a favor by accepting that you cannot maintain your current schedule for a given amount of time.

I think the danger lies in excuses. It’s easier to do a thing that’s been done before. I took a week off- literally nothing game related, as I had to carry the pug outside to do his business, carry him back in, and sit with him to prevent him from moving until he rebounded from the infection that was trashing his body.  I’ll use this as an example, because it is a gray area.  Could I have worked at a computer as I sat with him for several straight days?

Absolutely. But I didn’t. I questioned the validity of that work. I questioned whether or not working while distracted- and there’s little that’s more distracting that concern for the health of a life in your care- would cause me to chase paths that would end up losing me time because I was not thinking clearly. There was danger of making mistakes that wouldn’t be caught for some time because of the constant race to get the little guy outside before he had an enormous fecal explosion all over everything.  After two days of postponing anything for myself at all, but constantly worrying about what I wasn’t getting done, I made the choice.

Not today. Some things are important. Sometimes all the things you need to do are important. But at some point, your tasks MUST be weighted, and at that time, my pal needed me to be fully attentive and able to stop at a moment’s notice. He did not need me frustrated or upset because his needs were interrupting my own.

So my conversation for the day; is it ok to take a full-stop break in order to maintain a quality of life that will enable you to work more efficiently in the future? Or is taking a break- for any reason- counterproductive when working on a long-form project such as a game. Should I have continued to work, even with the potential for the work to be of a lesser quality, just to maintain my scheduled workflow?

As always, comment and let me know your opinions.

P.S. Niko has made a full recovery and appears to have a severely restricted diet in his future. He needs it, he’s a porker.

Published by ashermhart

I work at an amazing miniatures company during the day, and try to unravel the mysteries of game design for the rest of us plebians at night.

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