Rust Needs Sleep Too

Last week, I worked tirelessly to finish the player navigation of my game’s Map Screen. I wrote about the process, and why it was so unpredictably long, on my devlog, so let’s not rehash it here. But I’d like to use this post as a form of therapy — to dive into my mindset last week. Completely overtired, overworked, and overstretched. A burnt out psyche. But why?

Normal days I work six hours. I can hear the calls now: “Six hours? For a start up? An independent developer? Get off your ass and get to work!” But before you lambast me and write off my game, consider that a number of studies have shown that six hour work days are better — for employee happiness and for productivity. And some companies and government programs have actually shortened their work days to six hours, to fantastic results! A thirty hour work week should be the normal. I firmly believe that. As a manager, I won’t allow my one employee to tire himself out. That said, as an employee, I sometimes let passion get the better of me. Last week, I indulged in sixty or seventy hours just to finish that stupid map screen. I don’t think those extra hours were good for me or for the game — for all the reasons listed in those studies — so I’ll have to be more careful in future. But I’ve easily worked seventy hour weeks for game companies before. Though I’ve never undergone the horrors of extended crunch, there have been weeks where deadlines just needed to be met. So, I know, one week of that schedule shouldn’t kill me. What else was going on?

Wandering. Yes, travel is incredible. It can be exhilarating, astonishing, mesmerizing, and delicious — sometimes all at once. But it can also be exhausting. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve visited the Temple of Literature, the Fine Arts Museum, St Joseph’s Cathedral, Hoan Kiem Lake, the Temple of the Jade Mountain, Hoa Lo Museum, Bach Ma Temple, and the Hanoi Memorial House. I’ve walked most of the Old Quarter, the Hoan Kiem Lake District, and the French Quarter. Not satisfied with eating at the same places every day, I scavenged for new food options nearly every meal. I’ve been lucky. I’ve seen a lot. And I’ve been exhausted.

A couple of days ago, I was planning to visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex and the Vietnam Military History Museum — some of the most well known sites in Hanoi. How could I miss them? But then, something wonderful happened.

I got hungover.

I mean, proper hungover. Here’s a tip: German tourists can drink more beer than you can, so don’t try to keep up. I had the spins all day and couldn’t eat anything until dinner.

So, I lay in my bed. And all I did was watch reruns of British comedies — for some reason my classic remedy for hangovers. A spoonful of John Cleese, a sprinkle of Jeremy Clarkson, and a healthy dose of Stephen Fry. And I just sat. And watched. And felt absolutely no guilt whatsoever. And it was incredible.

Work is my passion. Travel is stimulating. Combing those two is fantastic — almost every day. And I’m so fortunate to be able to do both. But, without some rest, I can’t enjoy either activity. Some might rather burn out. But, if it means watching QI on a lazy Sunday, maybe I’ll just fade away every once in a while.

Image by the Victoria and Albert Museum







One response to “Rust Needs Sleep Too”

  1. […] all, what good is working late nights when you’re stunted by apathy? I’ve written about six-hour workdays and killing deadlines to combat overwork, but a creative mind can also […]