I'm a huge advocate of not just practicing our craft.
Of course, being great at music, sound, art, programming, writing, etc. is incredibly important.
But there is way more to freelancing successfully than our hard skills.
Heck, even if you want to work full time at a AAA company, getting noticed, promoted, and having influence require being good at much more than just your skillset.
So, we're going to break the major roadblocks of so many game industry workers down into three
Asking for What You're Worth
Comparing Yourself to Others
Today, we're going to talk about getting that good good focus and being able to work without constantly stalking our Twitter crushes.
Nowadays, the bar for being able to focus is so low, that having the ability to work for any stretch of time without distraction is seen as a superpower.
Unfortunately, many of us (myself included in the past) focus on trivial garbage that robs us of our focus and ability to produce.
As a result, we no longer have the habit of being able to work in a deep way.
I can count on two hands the people I know around my age who routinely dive into their work with extreme focus.
And I've noticed that these focused few:
Get paid more
Solve deeper problems
Gain high amounts of prestige for their work
Have more time for their lives as a whole
When you meet someone who can really dedicate themselves fully to a task, you'll notice that they're exactly the type of people that are getting all the gigs.
They're the ones who are eating every other freelancer alive.
For years, I was a mental wreck. Barely able to keep afloat in my day-to-day work.
So, today, I come to you with a suggestion. One that helped me break out from this career-destroying cycle.
Many of us all know about the Pomodoro Technique (which this method is based upon), but I have found a much more effective alternative.
And for those of you who don't know what the Pomodoro Technique is, it works like this:
Set a timer for 25 minutes
Work in a focused way for 25 minutes without any distractions
After that 25 minutes is up, take a 5 minute break
Repeat this cycle 3 more times
Take a longer break and start the cycle over
Pretty simple, right?
And for those who are new to it, it almost always works. Over the short-term, at least.
But within a few days or weeks, most everybody goes back to working with extreme distraction.
Because starting our efforts with such tiny breaks is insane.
We're going from spending tons of time goofing off to having teeny-tiny-barely-enough-time-to-take-a-poop breaks.
This is not a great way to build a powerful focus habit.
Instead, we need to build in rewards for our focused work, and a 5 minute break isn't going to cut it. At least, not at first.
Enter my perfectly-named supermethod…
AKASH'S ADVANCED APPROACH FOR AUGMENTED ACUITY:
To start, you're going to schedule an hour of work in your calendar for the task at hand.
For example, you'd have an hour-long block that says "compose" or "email developers."
Then, at the start of this block, you're going to set a timer for a small amount of time - anywhere from 10-25 minutes.
The more you hate or dread the task you're going to be working on, the shorter the time that you'll set.
And, just as you expect, you'll work on your task for the amount of time you've set.
Once the timer runs out…
~~~~~You take a break for the remaining hour~~~~~
Yes, that's right.
If you just worked for 25 minutes, you get to spend 35 minutes goofing off without guilt.
Look at dog gifs!
Roll around in your own filth!
The idea is that you're giving yourself a disproportionate award for the work you just did.
This will release some of those intoxicating brain chemicals, which will help the reward centers of your soft, delicious brain light up.
And once that break is over, you can start the cycle again if you want.
If you work like this just once a day, you'll gradually improve your ability to focus and get shit done.
And as time goes on, you'll feel comfortable increasing the amount of time you work, even on dreaded tasks.
And even though it may seem like such a small step in the beginning, this is the superpower that will make all the difference in your life and career.
XOXO, - Akash
P.S. One of my favorite books on the topic of focus is Deep Work by Cal Newport. Get it. Read it. Love it.
P.P.S. If you're not already aware, my business coach and I released an entirely free online course for those of you who want to break into the game industry. Grab it here