I’ve been working on Soul Reaper, a completely home-made video game, on and off for more than 2 years. It’s a lot of time working on the same project without having released anything yet. For most people, it would be hard to find the motivation to still work on the project on a day to day basis.
For me, it’s as easy as it’s ever been! I wake up at 6am every morning and work until 7 or 8pm, 6 – 7 days per week. I’m super motivated and highly productive, and so can you be with these tips!
Note: I’ve originally published this article on my website in it’s full version here. Now I want to focus mainly on the last, but most important one of my tips, which explains why being at coworking spaces is key to my success.
Tip #1: Split Tasks into their smallest components
Here’s a task I had as a Trello card: “Menu for organizing team”. Seems kinda small right? But this task can take 1 to 7 days to complete, or more. Where do you start? When does it end? What is the menu about? How does it work? This is too big a task! You can easily break it down into more manageable parts.
Tip #2: Start the day with one or two easy tasks
You might find this tip less frequently from other articles, but it works great for me. Even though I consider myself to be highly motivated, I still need a “win” or two to start my day. After completing easy tasks, I have the motivation and energy to tackle the real hard problems.
Tip #3: Work on your hardest tasks when you work best
For me, it happens in the morning, right after I finish my one or two easy tasks. I start so early that I don’t have any distractions for about 2 hours, and I have all the energy from having woken up not too long ago + coffee + dopamine rush from previously completing tasks. It’s a recipe for success!
Tip #4: Prepare your next day the night before
This greatly helps with waking up in the morning! At the end of my work day, I write down all the tasks I’ll be working on for the next day and review it before going to bed. This helps me wake up with a sense of purpose. I know what needs to be done, and I want to do it!
Tip #5: Take breaks and relax
Have you ever worked on a problem you couldn’t figure out for hours, and later went back to it and solved it in a matter of minutes? Often right? Make space for inspiring interruption by taking a power nap, a walk, a thinking shower or entertain yourself with a chapter of your favourite series on Netflix.
Tip #6: Remember the ultimate goal
When you work for two years on the same project, it’s hard to see the big picture. I look at my Trello board and all I see is a mindless list of “micro” tasks, leading to something… but what? For motivation and sanity’s sake: you need to visualize the end result. Every day. Ideally at all times really.
Tip #7: Every day, surround yourself with like-minded, highly motivated, individuals
I saved the most important tip for last. In my experience at least.
If you work in an office with your coworkers, you might have that one taken care of already, but not necessarily, especially in larger corporations. Sure, everyone is working towards the same goal, but they might not be highly motivated. Working with people who hate their job is poisonous. They drag everyone down. If you have colleagues like that, hang out with the others who are motivated and it will uplift you.
The Power Level Studio team is fully remote. Most live in Toronto, but we don’t physically work together. I tried working from home, with bad to good results. As with any habit, it gets easier with time.
But back in August, everything changed. My productivity levels increased 10x. That’s when I started working 80+ hours per week while not even being exhausted and having enough time to hang out with friends regularly, watch Netflix, play video games, read, learn 3 new skills per month and start side businesses.
How did I manage that?
I found a great coworking/coliving space in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It’s called AngkorHub. Here’s a photo of my friends and I at the family-style lunch table:
Firstly, I lived above the coworking space, reducing my commute time to 30 seconds. Leaving me with probably 1–2 hours more than most in a single day.
Secondly, everyone working there are highly motivated people working on things they care about. We shared stories and motivated each other every lunch time over the communal table, where a cook would prepare food for everyone (for a very low price). In addition to being a much-needed social moment, it allowed me to save time (and money) by not having to cook or find food outside. I’m estimating 1 hour saved here on average.
Thirdly, by living at the coworking space with other people, I surround myself with like-minded people I quickly called friends. Every night, after our crazy 12+ hour days, we would go out to eat at the restaurant. It’s a really nice and much needed break.
So if you count 16 hours awake, 12 went to work (with lunch in between) and 1–2 for dinner out, 30 minutes max for the essentials (like showering) and the rest is free. If we round up, that means I had at least 1 hour of free, alone time, where I would play games, watch Netflix or start side businesses. Not too bad!
After AngkorHub, I went to Thailand and then Spain, working from my Airbnb rooms. My productivity tanked. It was terrible. Thankfully I found another awesome coworking space in Málaga called The Living Room. Here’s a photo of a few of us hanging out after work:
I travelled all over the world and tried many different coworking spaces, and AngkorHub, The Living Room and Networks were the best for me. It came down to two reasons: The owner(s)/managers and the social life. That’s it. Everywhere, Wifi is always good. Seats are always comfortable. Desks are always clean. Coffee is always available. The owners and the community is unique and make all the difference.
Originally from Canada, Danny travels the world and joined the TLR family in November 2017 for at least 2 months. Probably owed to him being a very passionate, extremely hard working and adaptable person, Danny has become a very involved TLR family member in no time. He’s built PC programs, video games, mobile apps and web apps. Danny wore many hats including the ones of a software developer, video game programmer, front-end programmer, back-end programmer, network programmer, AI programmer, full-stack developer, lead engineer, game designer, game producer, company founder and consultant.