Developer Diary: Stressed working sucks!

Summer is here!

Basing on the reworked GOD, I am currently re-evaluating the estimated workload. Today, I have reworked the Design Part. (If you are interested in how long I think it might take: 3 month of preproduction, including all the prototype work, and 3 month of development.) Normally, I work at my pc, but today was phantastic weather and I decided to work outside.

Working? Relaxing? Why not both!

I put everything I needed on my tablet, took a pen and a (paper) notebook and went outside to work relaxed in my hammock. It was great. I could think about the new numbers, fill out tax office forms and read technical literature about games and start-ups while looking at the sky, sip ice tea and rocking peacefully in the hammock. And although my head was spinning because of the confusing tax office forms, it was a beautiful day. Of course, this is nothing I can do everyday, because most work has to be done at the PC, but I try to go outside whenever possible.

me relaxing in the hammock

Who said that work has to be stressful?

Especially reading long texts on the pc is just awful and I avoid it whenever possible. That is why I got me an e-book reader in 2011. Whenever I stumble over an interesting article in the internet, especially on Gamasutra, I convert it to a little e-book with the grabmybooks plugin for firefox. I collect several articles and when I find the time to read them, for example in the subway, during a bus ride or while relaxing in the hammock, I can enjoy them better than while sitting at the pc. The e-book also allows me to take little notes through which I can search later. So when I want to read about a certain topic, tutorials for example, I just look them up in my notes and can re-read all the articles which talked about tutorials.

Last year, I went to the copy shop, printed out a whole blog about balancing (193 A4 pages) and got it bound. This is now my “balancing bible” ♥

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My beloved “balancing bible”.

If you, my dear reader, also dislike reading at the PC (or other monitors), I recommend to get yourself an e-book reader. It is not exaggerated when I tell you that this little modern gadget is one of the best things I bought in my life. It made reading internet articles so much more comfortable and effective (because it store all articles and personal notes)!

Some words of wisdom: Don’t work hard, work smart!

I have the impression that some people only accept or appreciate their or other people’s work when it is done with stress. It seems that working relaxed is frowned on, because “if you are still relaxed, you are not working hard enough”. And of course, you seem very important if you can tell your friends and co-workers how hard you have worked (even on the week ends). But I think this is a very unhealthy and bad organized way to live and work. I’ve seen co-workers who lost / gained a lot of weight and / or aged rapidly by working like that. And let’s not talk about too much alcohol, burnout or drugs. I once had a roommate who took caffeine pills for a week and was surprised that he got ill at the end.

Efficiency and endurance are more important than “working hard”.

Without the drive to be “lazy”, we would not have all the phantastic technology which helps us to work more efficient than before. (Calculators, web search engines, route guidance systems, game engines etc. …) But not only technology, also smart organization safes time and prevents stress. (Tidy up your working space regulary, keep your things where you find them quick, put a sticky note reminder at a place you will definetly look at.) Working smart and relaxed saves up precious energy. It allows us to work consistently on the really important things.

So the next time, if you find yourself working stressful: take some time to think about what you can change at your workflow to get your shit done faster and better. (I recommend to read “How to simplify your life“. It also comes as an e-book ;)

Results matter.

Hard work does not automatically lead to useful results. I’ve seen co-workers who worked hard and did overtime to create overly complicated stuff without any practical use. Think of Sysiphus who rolls a boulder up a hill just to see it rolling down on the other side and start the work from the beginning.

Working relaxed does not automatically mean that you are smart. It may be that you are just a slacker. (I’ve seen such co-workers, too. They often tend to push their work “smartly” to other co-workers.) The smart ideas usually come after you worked hard and noticed that there might be an easier way. Reading is also a good way to gather smart ideas from other people.

 

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