GameDev Protips: How To Be More Productive In Your Daily Workflow

Efficiency is all about routines. For example, in the case of game development, you have to get ready in the morning, work on your particular sections of the game during the day, and get ready for tomorrow at night. One key factor in determining how productive your day will be, however, is understanding what your routines actually are. The less time you spend thinking about where to go from now, the better.

In order to begin truly understanding your routines, you have to start off small. These small actions will include daily habits that you’ve likely already set, such as hygiene, going to work, and stuffing your face every few hours. This also includes any poor, extraneous habits that you’ve set for yourself such as browsing Reddit or checking your email. Once you’ve identified the basics, you can start making small, incremental changes. You can try new variations in what is already a solid routine in order to see if something works out better overall, or is better for your productivity. For example, if you wanted to ensure progress on your indie game, you might want to slot in an hour every day after or before your day job. It’s easier to start this changed routine if you promise yourself that you can fit it in between something you already do, such as waking up. The old, routine activity will act as a cue for you to begin your new activity. By properly identifying these cues and tying them to new activities, the new activities will eventually become routine and as a result will not deplete your willpower.

Understanding your routine and how to change it is only the first step, though; you have to be able to know where to change it to get positive results. Again, you have to start out small if you want to achieve your goals; slowly make things more difficult for yourself, working in the direction of your goals. As a general example, if you’re in the habit of going for a walk every evening, you might challenge yourself to start running every evening instead. If you have already been running, this might turn into marathon training. With this line of thought, you continue to grow and develop even whilst doing routine activities. While it is true that being able to stick to a routine is a comfortable feeling, you can easily lose long term goals if you’re not bettering yourself. In game development, start challenging yourself to do more in the same amount of time. The key of productivity is working smart, versus working hard.

In addition, forcibly challenging yourself will prevent boredom and also let you visualize the fruits of your labor. Seeing a definite display of your progress will give your ego a boost, and with ego comes the motivation to work towards your goals. If you don’t progress, stagnation can set in which is a killer of motivation. You’ll feel as if you’re going nowhere and many people will give up and move on at this stage if there is no progress in site. As a result, it’s important to challenge yourself whenever possible. If you find yourself plateauing, crack open some books or watch some educational YouTube videos and learn how to break that plateau. Change up your routine and make it more difficult over time — even if it’s just a simple adjustment to your routine, as this is the best way to keep you on track towards your goal of becoming more productive and completing your projects.

Important Takeaways: Your routine is extremely important. Appropriately fitting in goal-seeking activities into your routine is critical for productivity, but to do that you must understand exactly what your routine is to begin with. Start off basic, such as with your daily activities like going to work or eating dinner. After you’ve identified these, you can start to vary them slightly in the direction you wish to go. It’s easier to start doing this if it’s a part of something you already do. Eventually these activities will become routine themselves and as a result, very little willpower is required to perform them.

After you have your routine completely understood and know how to change it, it’s time to figure out exactly how to change it. Usually this will be in the form of difficulty; if you slowly increase the difficulty of a certain activity that’s related to your goals, the routine difficulty also increases by an equal amount. If you continue this line of thought, you leave yourself room to grow and develop even whilst performing routine activities. If you do not challenge yourself appropriately, your routine will feel very stagnant and this is the killer for most people’s motivation. The opposite also applies; if you challenge yourself appropriately, your ego will be boosted due to the definite display of progress that you can see. As a result, challenging yourself in your routine is extremely important if you wish to keep getting closer and closer to your goals.