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10 Jun 2014

Productivity Tips You Need to Start Using Today

We talk a lot about productivity here at Game Academy, and for good reason: sometimes, it can be next to impossible to stay productive and complete your tasks day-to-day. Knowing how to be more productive than ever is a never-ending battle, and today, I’m pleased to provide you with a few more tactics you can use to stay productive and on task better than ever. But look at me procrastinating! Without further ado, here are the best tips for ensuring that you remain productive and cease procrastination.

 

Stop creating goals

You read that correctly: stop creating goals – at least in the typical sense. You cannot merely state that you are going to accomplish a set of goals during the week and hope that it’ll all fall into place eventually. Focusing on what you want to happen doesn’t work for anyone. Instead, create a system for making your goals realized.

Let’s assume you want to have 25% of all of your indie game’s assets finished by the end of next month. Great – but how are you going to get there? You could ask your outsourced workers to send you a percentage of completed, polished work every work day for a month, and that could probably work quite well. However, what work needs to be completed and polished daily? You need to decide that for yourself, and pass it along to your outsourced workers.

What happens if your outsourced worker is having problems with a particular asset? After all, game  development is never straight forward, so will you have a backup plan to avoid these types of catastrophes? Perhaps you could have another outsourced worker collaborating with another worker, collaborating together to meet the day’s quota. That way, all of the work doesn’t depend on a sole individual.

See what’s happening here? You’re creating a system for achieving your goal rather than merely creating a goal and hoping that you stick with it. Remember: don’t just daydream – be proactive!

 

Allow less time for the most important tasks

Full disclosure: I’ve started using a productivity technique that seems absolutely ridiculous, but it works. In the past, I would give myself more than enough time to complete time-critical tasks. It sounds logical, except I kept noticing that I couldn’t stay focused. Whereas I was giving myself more than enough time to complete a task, in my mind, I had more than enough time to finish said task that I could finish it later.

This resulted in a lot of wasted time, and while I would end up finishing the task with a few moments to spare, there were other things I could have been doing that were much more productive than wasting time on Reddit. So I tried something new: I gave myself only a minimal amount of time to finish time-sensitive tasks for one week, and guess what happened?

I kept my focus!

This resulted in the freedom to focus on other tasks that were not time critical at the moment, resulting in actually getting ahead in my workload. It’s crazy, but it works.

Will this work for you? It’s worth a shot, and who knows? Working  in the danger zone may just be what you need to keep your focus.

 

Stop when you’re on top

If you’ll excuse my Seinfeld reference for a moment, there’s a scene that correlates perfectly with this tip. George Costanza learns the value in leaving out on a high note, and throughout the episode, he tries to perfect this. At the end of the episode, he does. Take a look below and see what I mean:

 

George left the meeting on a high note, and you can apply this perfectly to your daily work. Heck, even Hemingway knew that quitting work on a high note was beneficial:

 “The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day…you will never be stuck.”

When stopping in the middle of a project on a high note, you know exactly what you have done, know how to jump back into the task, and you won’t despite getting back to work the next day. Everyone hates having to jump into a task at a point where the work is brutal. Follow this tip, and that won’t happen again.

 

Take a break – clean your house

When I need a break from writing, nothing helps me to clear my head better than tackling some of the household chores around the home. Household chores may sound like the worth thing imaginable, but when you’ve been working and racking your brain for hours, a task where you don’t have to think (like washing dishes) is a godsend. Have dirty dishes in the sink? Need to fold some laundry? Need to scrub the bathtub? Do it! You’ll be amazed how much better you feel after tackling a mandatory chore that doesn’t involve thinking.

 

Have any additional tips for staying productive? Any questions/comments? Let us know in the comments below!

2 Responses

  1. Your tip for allowing LESS time for the most important tasks is as intriguing to me as it is scary! It does seem counter-productive, but your reasoning makes sense so I’m going to give it a try!

  2. Alexandre Léveillé

    Personally, I am more productive when I have a short time to do it than when I have too much so it makes sense even if it’s counter intuitive.

    Also, I developed a trick in programming when I get stuck on a problem or a bug I don’t know how to fix. I only allow a little amount of hours a day to work on bug fixing and I continue to work on the rest of the project the majority of the time. It allows me to refresh my head of this problem and come with a solution or a different approach after a night of sleep. It also let me stay positive by seeing that my project is progressing even if the particular problem isn’t solved. Otherwise I can get stuck for days trying to solve one problem.

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