As I am finally coming out of a 5 days (and counting...) long battle with a particularly annoying flu due to wildly shifting weather (go Denmark!), I was beginning to sort in my head the things I have wanted to blog about here when I, instead, was blowing ooze through half my orifices and gasping for air. I'm sorry about any mental images created by that statement, by the way...
The fact is, I feel weird about time. Not just because it's what my game and the entire surrounding project is about, but also because... time, man. Who has it, these days?
In all honesty... I have it. I feel like I have way too much time. I also feel I have way too many things I want to do. Procrastination aside (yes, big aside, I know), I keep feeling that I am doing something very wrong, and that something is planning. I plan, don't get me wrong. I make detailed lists of tasks needing to be handled, and I manage to follow most of them, with only minor changes along the way. I like creating structure, even if I do love the thrill of being surrounded by creative chaos, too. I plan, a lot, for a lot, in many ways. And I follow through to the best of my abilities.
What keeps ringing in my mind is a piece of advice a friend once gave me, though. It was for playing Starcraft, but perhaps without knowing it, he said something that was, to me, endlessly profound: If you have a lot of resources, you're doing something wrong. The point being that it was a waste to have a lot of unspent resources, just laying around. If you got it, you should invest it. Make every bit count. And I feel like that should be true for projects, too, especially projects like game design and creating large fictional universes, like my Embassy of Time.
So the thing bothering me is, why do I have both the feeling of a lot of downtime, and a clear idea of what I want to do with it, but end up spending less than half of it in a useful way? Sure, procrastination, daydreaming, goofing off with some fun thing you made, and posting stuff about what you do to online websites (this blog included) will expend time, but it doesn't feel like that's the problem. It feels like the factory is on and ready to go, but someone (me) keeps forgetting to push the button. Not due to sloth or not wanting to; I want to do these things, to the point of finding other things in life a bit tedious in comparison. But something goes wrong in the planning phase.
Part of the problem is that I have, due to the nature of the project, a lot of balls in the air. I just started writing the main book behind the game's story, a rewrite of some old works of mine. The game itself is moving into new territory that requires me to understand and creatively use a lot of science and math. And there are other, lesser arms of the project that I need to do some research on, including research into managing social network websites (I even have another, dormant, blog, and a Twitter account, and no real idea what to use them for at the moment). But none of it is mysterious. It's stuff I can just do, and stuff that I often, as stated, want to do. Somehow, I just end up screwing up my time management, and get less than half of it done, if even that. And it bothers me.
There is no answer on this one. It's my post-phlegmic brain trying to be constructive and productive again. But I can't help but wonder if I am missing some clever way to get my ducks in a row and push forward like I feel I should be doing. Maybe it's because my cat ran away and something deep in my brain can't concentrate. Maybe I feel guilty for not doing more 'grown-up' things, like earning more money and buying a car or wearing a suit or something. Maybe it's my bloodsugar that's too high or too low and messing with me. Maybe I need to hydrate more. But in the end, I feel I am not living up to my potential. And that bothers me to no end...
EDIT: While proof-reading this entry, it dawned on me that classical motivation, i.e. "the carrot and the stick", may be more involved with this than I suspected. Few things motivate like someone letting you know that you're doing "a good job", that you're going in the right direction, at the right pace. That is, in my experience, nearly impossible to measure when working on your own. Nobody is setting guidelines or putting pressure on you. I just watched someone play Dark Souls and thought a lot about how the point of the game is that the insane trials involved make success feel that much more awesome. I, and I bet most others working completely independently from an employer, have no benchmark to go by in that way. Sure, figuring out a solution to a problem or a bug is great, but it's hard to truly see, and feel, that you're "moving forward". There is no beam of light and a booming voice to tell you that you leveled up, no answers in the back of the book to compare your work to. You don't know if you're even on the right track. I'm thinking that it might pay off to look at some gamification theory and try to set up something, but I doubt that this is even possible in a situation like mine and people like me. Anyone with an insight is highly welcome to tell me how wrong I am about that! Please?!