Overworking is kinda stupid
After flying to Argentina and getting settled into my airbnb in Buenos Aires, I was frothing at the mouth to put some serious work hours in.
High above me was this vision of a chiselled chad-like figure, absolutely crushing his goals while pulling a 100-hour work week.
I wanted to be that man.
Over the next two weeks I managed to squeeze out 106 hours. Which for my first attempt, certainly wasn’t bad. After all that effort, I was left with my very first video game release, Don’t Cold - officially making me a game developer.
Yet I noticed that the act of aiming for the 100-hour work week, left me sacrificing a little more about my life-style than I’d like.
I had no time for writing, no time for reflection, no time for studying, no time for anything that wasn’t “make game.”
While in the moment I was absolutely crushing it. Towards the end of the two weeks it was starting to head into burnout territory. The work itself was still being done, but my overall health was on the decline.
Which makes sense. I’m not deluding myself into thinking that working insane hours in sustainable.
Since launch 9 days ago, I’ve been taking it easy. Recovering, winding down and tying up loose ends on the previous project.
If I were to take this same pattern of work and apply it to the next project, realistically it would be - 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, 2 weeks on, 1 week off for recovery, which is…
144 hours in total.
That got me thinking though. What if I take a step back and try out a more sustainable approach?
Instead of trying to work as many hours as humanly possible, what if I just shoot for 8 each day?
If I’m only doing 8 hours a day, that gives me plenty of room to do the other things in my life I want to get done. In doing so, I wouldn’t actually need a one week break once finished with a project.
I’d be doing 8 hours a day, 6 days a week, over 3 weeks, which is…
144 hours in total.
The same amount of work hours, over the exact same time period.
Now this doesn’t even take into account stuff like:
- I get 1.5x more days immersed in the project
- That’s 1.5x the chance to be struck with creative insight
- That’s 1.5x more highly effective morning sessions
- I can concurrently do supporting activities like writing, reflecting, and studying.
This will all compound in on itself exponentially. And it’s also not to say that I can’t work more than 48hrs a week if I feel like it. I’ll be trying to push that number as far as I can without sacrificing the lifestyle I’m after.
further reading: productivity in the games industry