Game Development Next To A Daytime Job; Pursuing My Dream!
This blog was originally posted on LinkedIn on 22 March 2021
Who doesn’t have a dream slumbering in the back of their head that they haven’t pursued yet? You might want to write a book someday, become an entrepreneur, or in my case: publish a videogame. When I was switching companies back in November 2020 I managed to squeeze in a free month to kickstart my dream – and it has been (and still is) amazing!
At daytime I’m product manager at Mendix. At nighttime however, I’m the sole developer of One More Island: a 2D city builder game situated in the 18th Century. The two jobs are vastly different. As product manager I’m relying on others to realize a vision, while as developer/owner I’m in full control and responsible for everything.
That freedom meant I could go for a genre I love to play myself: games revolving around logistics. In One More Island you have to set up supply chains (across islands) to build a thriving civilization!
Challenges of combining jobs
Switching between roles and context does take some effort and I struggled with that in the beginning. Where physical labor has a clear split between being on- and off-the-job, that’s not so much the case for mental labor. Combined with the working-from-home measures – meaning you do both jobs from the same desk – the distinction becomes rather vague.
You might recognize it’s easy for your mind to wander off in-between meetings. Although no one expects you to be productive for 8-hours straight, mentally doing other work also doesn’t feel right to me. To prevent myself from drifting off too far, I’ve set some basic rules:
- Only join if I contribute something: everyone seems to be multitasking during all these video calls, myself included. When I notice I’m really zoning out, I ask myself whether I should’ve been in that meeting at all. As product manager it’s easy to fill your calendar with meetings, but are you really contributing to everything you attend?
- Write things down: writing down thoughts that pop up is a great way to get them out of your head asap. That doesn’t only apply at daytime of course, I’m always making notes in bed, coming out of the shower, walking outside, …. Well, you get the drift.
- Plan ‘drifting off’ time: plan time off-the-clock where you allow yourself to wander off. I’ve found that it helps keeping focus, and of course it’s something to look forward to as well. In my case the lunch break is typically a time for that creativity to flow out!
Having that said, I’m still spending a significant amount of time on my game in evenings and weekends to make something I can be proud of. It will always remain a balancing act, but in my case it does allow me to pursue one of my biggest dreams!