30 July 2018
I’ve been asked a few times to post what an average day looks like for me. But I struggled to figure out how that information might be useful to you…until now. I recently realized something that has improved my work life, and I wanted to share it with you in case it’s helpful.
From a distance, my overall schedule still looks very similar to before I had this realization: I work 7 days a week at my home-office for about 12-13 hours a day. I don’t work at a blistering pace–typically, if I finish a mentally heavy task, I’ll take a 5-minute break afterwards to watch a game review or a silly video. I play games with friends 2-3 times a week (I don’t count that as work), and I sometimes go out to eat instead of cooking from home. I’m single, with my 2 cats as my only dependents.
That’s all the same. What has changed is that I now intentionally break down my day into 3 segments that feel distinctly different, with each segment giving me a sense of closure and accomplishment. You can see the detailed breakdown below, roughly in order of operations.
This change has been particularly helpful for my emotional and intellectual well-being, as it ensures that I don’t burn out on any particular type of task. I feel more comfortable saying “not today” to a certain type of task that I’ve already addressed during a segment today, knowing there’s a segment available tomorrow.
- Post to Instagram.
- Read and respond to easy/urgent emails (I normally wake up to around 40 e-mails, around 10 of which are just notifications). I try to get to inbox zero in the morning, which makes it easier to maintain for the rest of the day. (Please note that if you ever want to contact me directly about a private matter, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t send me a message on my personal Facebook account or on BGG Geekmail.)
- Check in on social media (Twitter, Facebook, BoardGameGeek, Instagram). I’ll return to this a few times each morning.
- Receive and review incoming samples from Panda (this is when FedEx delivers them).
- Brush teeth and shower (not work, but important!). I try to multitask by watching/listening to game-related YouTube channels and podcasts whenever I’m within earshot.
- Respond to emails requiring more time and attention.
- Create the content for the day (blog or video).
- Operations/logistics/project management: This is a broad category, and it varies vastly depending on the day.
- Participate in podcast interview (sometimes, though I prefer the early afternoon).
- If there’s time (and the need), sometimes I’ll run an errand in the morning.
- Read and respond to emails accumulated during lunch. Because these are often responses to emails I initiated earlier in the day, they can often take significantly more time than the morning emails.
- Put out fires: The aforementioned emails can reveal problems that need to be solved as soon as possible.
- Quick check on social media (repeat several times).
- Read and respond to comments on blog and YouTube (particularly whatever content I posted in the morning).
- Participate in a podcast interview (if applicable). 2:00 CST has been my preferred interview timeslot for quite a while. I also have monthly chats with the Automa team at this time.
- If there’s no interview, I’ll often post something on a game-specific Facebook group (like a design diary post) knowing I’ll be available for the next few hours to participate in the discussion as necessary.
- Wednesdays only: Meet with co-founder Alan, usually to playtest a game in design, development, or consideration for publication.
- Sometimes tasks from the morning will bleed over into the afternoon a little bit. If they’re consistent or urgent tasks, I’ll take care of them now.
- I’ll scroll through Feedly (an RSS reader) to stay in the loop about game news and reviews, among other topics that interest me.
- Game development: This varies based on what stage a game is in. Most often it means corresponding with the designer, managing blind playtesting, and working through the many stages of final file creation.
- Prototype printing, cutting, and assembly: This doesn’t happen every day, but when it happens, it’s usually in the afternoon while listening to a gaming podcast.
- Occasionally, if it’s a slow day, I’ll get to work on my own game designs in the afternoon.
- If there’s time, I like to do a short workout in the afternoon.
Oh, and throughout the day, Biddy may try to “help” by doing this:
- Check and respond to email.
- Check social media.
- Write my personal blog entry for the day.
- Game design time! This is my reward for completing all of the other work in the afternoon and evening. As much as I enjoy all of the work that proceeds this, I can go to bed with a sense of satisfaction and progress if I’m able to work on game designs for a few hours in the evening (and sometimes the afternoon, if I’m lucky). Sometimes this is pencil-and-paper brainstorming/revisions, and usually there’s also some InDesign creation here too.
Then I go to bed, ending the day with 30 minutes of speculative fiction reading to help switch off my work brain (right now I’m reading Age of War). I sleep for 7-8 hours, depending on when the cats convince me to get up, and then I start the process over again!
I’ve really found this segmentation process to be invigorating and helpful. Have you tried anything like this? Has it worked for you?
Also read: The 80-Hour Workweek
If you’re going to Gen Con this week, check out Top 10 Things You Should Know About Gen Con.
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