One of the worst feelings in the world is when you’re busy with a project, only to suddenly have the realization that you need a break. It doesn’t happen all at once: gradually, you find yourself slipping up, feeling suffocated, and finding it hard to put your 110 into everything that you do. It’s easy to feel helpless – especially when you have a ton of work on your plate.
But maybe you are just having a bad day/week/month. Do you really need to take a long-term break from doing what you love? According to Lifehack (an awesome resource), these are a few signs that it’s time to take a break in order to avoid feeling permanent burnout on what you love to do the most: developing indie games.
The small mistakes
Everybody makes small mistakes: we’re human, not machines. Yet, if you are noticing that you are constantly making small mistakes, it’s time to take a vacation immediately. Making these small mistakes can kill your self-esteem too. You will start to wonder if you still ‘have it’ and if you’re actually worth a damn. You are indeed worth a damn: you’re just overworked. Again, we’re humans, not machines. Take a break and rejuvenate.
Focusing is a big issue
Lifehack brings up a great point about focus: if you can’t focus on your work, you cannot do good work. It’s as simple as that. If you are having difficulties focusing daily, then you are going to produce poor work. This will force you to return to your work and revise it (thus, wasting more of your time), which could force you to start doubting yourself, feeling frustrated, etc. Nobody needs that. Take a break, de-stress your life, and return to work with the ability to focus and most importantly, churn out awesome work.
You don’t care
When you stop caring about your work, that’s when you know you have huge problems. What’s stopping you from producing poor work if you lack the ambition to achieve greatness? Nothing. That is when you get into scary territory. Ambition is the safety net that protects us from producing mediocre work; without it, we’re doomed to produce poor work.
Don’t put your brand’s perception at risk: if you don’t care, take a prolonged break. When you return, you are going to feel like a million bucks, care about your work, and will be back on track to producing awesome indie games in no time.
Know the difference
If you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, you may feel like it’s time to take a break; but not so fast. I want to add that there is a difference between positive and negative stress. Stress can be a good thing, and can be the driving force that makes you produce good work. When it’s bad is when the stress isn’t doing its job. If you are feeling stressed yet could care less about producing awesome work, it’s time for a vacation. Pause everything that you are doing, pack your things, and go on a vacation. Go anywhere and do anything; just allow your mind to be refreshed.