The initial rush of converting from subcontracting to full indie development is settling down and things are taking shape, finding a rhythm. The shift to working from home has been interesting. Now I don’t commute, I’ve suddenly discovered I’ve got at least 3 extra hours in a day. Of those 3 hours, about 40 minutes was useful work time on the train (if limited by intermittent mobile blackspots) and 40 minutes fairly brisk exercise which I need to keep up with from somewhere else but even taking those into account, I’m still 1:40 to the good – that’s amazing! What do with all that time?
I’m trying to stick to normal working hours, my natural tendency has always been to burn the midnight oil and sleep away the morning but this time I’ve got a few great tricks up my sleeve. While I’m not a morning person, my wife is. So I’ve made it my goal to make her a cup of tea before she leaves for work – this is akin to pinning my flaky currency to the dollar in a bid to avoid sleep-debt hyperinflation, or some such tortured metaphor. Even then, the bad idea bears in my head still tell me I can just have a little extra sleep but the experience of the professional office environment usually does the trick here – namely, read e-mails until the caffeine kicks in and fool the brain into working. If all else fails there is one sure fire way to ensure I begin each day productively, it’s small, fluffy and viciously clawed when not fed her morning tuna. There’s nothing quite like cat in the face followed by the smell of raw tuna to wake you up!
As the day wears on, the tendency is to become defocused by the constant plate spinning of indie life – e-mails, finance, marketing, IT support, legal, scheduling, design, code, art, critical feedback, cat strokes – and at some point you need to find some space to be creative. No matter how custom designed your environment, staring at a computer monitor for 8 hours a day is a really bad idea for health and productivity – even the government have known that since 1992 – so again I fall back to the habits of office working. I get up from my desk a couple of times a day, usually around 13:00 for lunch and then again at 16:00 when I go for a walk around the park by my house. Years ago, before I started doing this I would get migraines all the time but I find this really clears my head and helps keep me productive and creative. Then about 18:00 my brain starts to fizzle out and I know it’s time to call it a day.