Do You Ever Feel Guilty For Not Working On Your Game?
I used to feel guilty whenever I wasn’t working. What’s going on guys I’m Tim Ruswick from Game Dev Underground and that’s kind of what I want to talk about today. Because I used to feel like this all the time. Whenever I wasn’t working around wasn’t being productive I would feel like I was build a sense of guilt like I was supposed to be working all the time.
Like I was supposed to be making a difference like there are other people out there getting ahead of me and I’m just sitting here doing nothing. Like who am I to take time off to play video games or to do this stuff when I should be working I should be working on my game I should be doing stuff all the time.
And I would feel guilty I would feel this sense of like I it’s real guilt like I would legitimately feel bad, I would feel like I’m not good enough, I would feel so many different emotions like piled into one another all because I wasn’t working, and I thought about like why where this came from right.
Like I realized a lot of it had to do with my upbringing and me growing up and my parents felt that way a lot they always felt like they had to be working had to be doing something, but American culture is kind of like that too I don’t know how it is in other places of the world but there’s this whole thing in America about like you’ve got to be working all the time you gotta hustle you’re not going to make it, you got it you got to work work work work work do it do it do it do it, and on top of that in the game industry it’s even worse right, like you hear about all these companies that are like overworking their employees for crunch time.
EA’s getting sued for all kinds of stuff. Like these big companies are pushing their employees more and more more. And they’re it turns into like almost like if you’re not working twelve sixteen hours a day you’re not good enough. You don’t care. You’re not you’re not a good employee. Shit’s crazy man and having felt that way for a very long time I can tell you it starts to wear on you. And if you feel this way you’ve got to be careful. Because it it produces a non wavering sense of anxiety all the time. At least it did for me. And I just felt like this whenever I was out whatever I was anywhere I just felt like I should be working I should be working.
No matter where I was it just is like a feeling in my chest and I just I would go to bed and I would think about it like oh I didn’t get anything done today I wasted the whole day having fun. How dare me. And it’s just a really bad feeling. So what a couple things I did to kind of solve this after I noticed it was happening was first thing I did and I talked about this another video but I realized that downtime was productive right. Like actually taking time off to do things is a good thing.
Downtime is really important especially to prevent burnout and we go completely in depth in that on the burnout video. But essentially you’ve got to take time out of your head right. Like and if you have if you have a problem getting out of your head and you’re always thinking like oh I got to be working I got to be working got to be doing this. You need to you need to hang out with people or you need to go do things that take you out of your head so that you’re not constantly worrying. And you need to consciously remind yourself over and over again hey my downtime is productive to my project. That one helped me a lot.
But second thing and I think is even bigger than that but I really kind of took in as part of my whole process here was learning to value the process over the endpoint. The process over the goal. So for a long time I was like I gotta get to finishing game finishing a game finishing a game finishing game. And I think that’s really it’s an important milestone like especially when you haven’t finished a game or something like that and I you know I’m a strong believer in that I got a whole video called Finish A Damn Game.
But at some point you have to understand that you are in this for the process not for the goal. Because goals will always come and go and every time you reach a goal it doesn’t give you anything extra you’re the same person you were before and now you just move on to another goal. And that can be very damaging especially with bigger goals. Like I remember when I when I had this goal that I wanted to build a startup company and I wanted to sell it within five years. I want to do those two things.
And I worked in I working at work and it didn’t into like my marketing company and I built some proprietary technology that helped market specially digital products. And when I sold it was just like the sense of now what. Like you would think this would be some grandiose like oh fuck yeah let’s party let’s go rent a boat let’s do some stupid shit. But it was just like shit now what now what do I do. Like I thought that was impossible and now it’s done.
So a similar thing happened when when I finished a game too. When I finished my first game and I talk about this again in the other video but my game was like it was such a big thing in my mind it took me ten years to actually finish the game. And when I finished it I was like okay now what. Now now what. So valuing the process I think is a lot more important than the end point. Because the process will continue for eternity the end point is just another step along the path. And you pass so many end points in your life that it it doesn’t get get you anywhere.
And now I’m not saying that goals are bad right, I think goals are the reason that I got to where I wanted to go they were the lighthouses in my in my destination right. Like I don’t think I would have done anything with my company or my game if I didn’t have those as goals to kind of direct me towards them. But valuing the process has taught me the beauty of consistency. And if you followed me for the past couple weeks you know that every week like clockwork I make a video on Monday and I make an article on Wednesday.
Recently I’ve started doing video everyday. I’m consistent when I do things. Because that always brings a much greater effect. Anything that you do if you’re just consistent and you learn to love the process you can’t go wrong. Goals can disappoint you right like you can miss them you can get there and they’re not as great as you thought. But if you learn to value the process you’ll always you’ll always love what you’re doing.
And I think when it goes back to guilt specifically when I learned to love the process I didn’t feel guilty for not working. Because if I was always focused on the goal I feel like oh I should be working on it should be working on it should be doing I should be doing it. But when I just value the process I could say okay Monday through Friday I’m going to work on this process because it’s something I love to do. Saturday Sunday I’m going to go to something else.
I’m going to hang out. For a long time I took Wednesdays off too like I would just— as long as you learn to value the process I think it removes that feeling a guilt because you don’t have this looming deadline over your head. Now I could be completely crazy and maybe no one else in the world feels this way but that’s how I felt and that’s how I fixed it. So if you have ever felt guilty for not working please leave a comment below and tell me your story whether you solved it or whether you didn’t solve it I would love to hear it because I’m really interested in in this kind of stuff.
So once again I’m Tim Ruswick until next time I will see you guys in the next video.