Like Herding Cats

As you have noticed, it’s been a while since I wrote anything here. I was kept busy with the Mac App Store release of Highlight, trying to get the podcast flying, and plowing on with my main job as a developer-for-hire, which certainly keeps me busy. I’ll try and post about things that can come in handy for the developers out there who (still) read this blog later…

But this post is about the way being endlessly sidetracked can ruin your career, which by the way is your life, when you’re an indie developer.

As stated before, there are the things you want to do, the things you’d like to do and the things you have to do. It’s easy to forget about the last part when you’re busy as hell, but they tend to remind you they still exist. Administrative stuff. “Being there” at a meeting. And with no boss, or administrative person taking care of your schedule, it’s up to you to get organized. Especially when things tend to get overwhelming.

For the past 3-4 weeks, my daily routine (including week ends) has been something like:

  • 7am-10am: administrative stuff an emails
  • 10am-1pm: urgent coding
  • 1pm-1:30pm: eating
  • 1:30pm-2pm (if time allows): nap
  • 2pm-2:30pm: emails
  • 2:30pm-7pm: urgent coding and/or meetings
  • 7pm-8pm: either pause or eating
  • 8pm-9pm: personal correspondence
  • 9pm-11pm: coding
  • 11pm-midnight: reviewing the day / planning the next day
  • midnight-3am: coding and/or experimenting with potential solutions to my day problems and/or reading about potential solutions or interesting stuff
  • 3am: nap

Now, I don’t recommend that daily schedule to anyone, but it got me thinking: one of the reasons why I am independent is because I don’t like routine. Being at my desk from 9 to 6, every day, whatever the load, and whatever I have to do isn’t something I crave. But this schedule, some might call it a routine as well, is essential. If you don’t stick to a certain form of timetable, procrastination and distractions tend to creep up. Then disaster is around the corner.

I guess what I’m saying is that, boss or no boss, organization is key. Of course, it doesn’t need to be inflexible, in fact an indie developer’s greatest asset is his or her flexibility. But there is a difference between having a somewhat loose dance card, and being there at the ball.

The reason why most developer want to go indie (at least the ones I talked to at the Objective Cologne conference) is to get free of all the “absurd” constraints and routines, but by flying solo, you still have to find one that fits you. There’s a rhythm to everything.


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