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16 Sep 2014

Indie Developers: Trouble Focusing? Adjust Your Workspace

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I came across an interesting article over the weekend at Hobby Game Dev that stated the reason so many indie developers have trouble focusing could be due to the poor setup of their workspace. Some of the tips were so good, I knew I had to share them with you today. And if you’ve been reading for a while, you know that we’ve discussed the importance of a stellar workspace in detail before, but for those that are new to Game Academy or simple need a reminder on how to have a proper workspace,  today’s article is for you. Covering the basics, this is what you need to add to your workspace today in order to really thrive.

Have a laptop? Get a desk and chair.

I made the switch from a laptop to a desktop over two years ago, and I couldn’t be happier. A laptop always gave me an excuse to work somewhere else: in front of the TV, in my bed, outside where I can watch my neighbors arguing. You get the idea. Although I miss the freedom of being able to work wherever I go, having a desktop forces me to sit down and get some serious work done.

I’m not saying you need to throw out your laptop and buy a desktop, but you need to have a central space for work.

And that starts with using a desk and a chair.

Now, you probably already have one, but I know a lot of you are probably using your coffee table, kitchen table, etc. If that works for you – great! If not and you are having problems getting work done, get a cheap desk and a comfortable chair and set up shop somewhere in your living quarters that is free of distractions.

Are there distractions in your workspace? Remove them.

Before I begin work, I make it a goal to remove every distraction out of my home office. That means my 3DS, iPad, Kindle, book I’m reading at the moment – everything is removed and taken to another room. From there, I can focus on what’s truly important: getting some work done.

Is that easier said than done? Absolutely. I have a library of Steam games that are begging to be played, but it all comes down to self-control.

Self-control to keep myself from playing until work is done, and self-control to know that nothing is more important than finishing work at the moment.

After all, unlike opportunity, my Steam games will always be here, so I make it a goal to always use my time wisely.

Distracted by the Web? Turn it off.

There are some days that it’s so impossible to focus, that you have to unplug completely. It happens, and the best way to do that? Unplug completely. That’s right: unplug your router, turn off your mobile devices, and get some serious work done. When you can’t access the Internet, you will be amazed how much good work you finish in such a short period of time.

Is your home office too noisy? Leave.

One of the things I miss about having a laptop is the ability to leave and work somewhere else. Especially when the neighborhood is noisy, there’s nothing I would rather do than to go sit in a quiet library and work all day. If you absolutely cannot focus due to the noise in your vicinity, leave and go to a place where you know you can focus.

A coffee shop is a great place to work and focus. As stated, a library is a suitable place. Even a book store or a local restaurant is a decent place to work when you need peace and quiet to focus. Never scoff at the idea of just packing up your materials and leaving your home office for the day, because believe me, it works.

Have any additional suggestions for adjusting your workspace? Have any questions or comments? Let us know in the comments below!

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