One Man Left Studios is over a year old, but it’s been about 4-5 months since I’ve gone ‘full time’ indie. It’s been an awesome experience thus far and each new day brings a lot of joy and excitement. It’s really hard to describe the feeling of going from a job you simply ‘show up for’ and one that you can’t wait to start working on. But looking back to how I felt about certain aspects of the working life to what I feel now, a lot has changed:
The saying “time flies when you’re having fun” couldn’t be more true. Weeks have gone by without me noticing. I felt October only started yesterday. During my old day jobs, getting through a month seemed like it took forever. I think it’s a lot different now because my focus has shifted from looking at the clock, to looking at what I’m doing. Weekends are no longer an “end goal” for me. Wednesdays come and I’m not pining for the weekend to arrive. This probably contributes a lot to why things are feeling faster. I’m not waiting for the weekend to start living, I’m living everyday now.
Days feel shorter as well. I suddenly feel there isn’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. The very reason I went full-time was so I could get “everything done”, so the irony isn’t lost on me. But in reality, I went from working non-stop with little time to enjoy myself or spend time with friends, to working MORE on what I love, but still having plenty of time to spend with friends and family.
I have a slightly better understanding to the phrase “life is short” :).
More meaningful interactions
This may be just who I am or the people I hang out with, but come sundays there was always at least a little bit of moaning and groaning about the week starting. It doesn’t happen anymore. It did at first, but when others realized I actually enjoyed mondays the topic usually shifted rather quickly :).
Work becomes consuming
This is more of a ‘dark side’ to being indie. The guys over at Retrodreamer touched on this subject rather well. When you’re in a creative business, ideas can strike at any time. My impulse before was to try to pursue it ASAP. This could get in the way of other life duties if you let your work hours just go flying into the night. The habit was mostly born out of extreme lack of time. When facing another week at the day job, I simply may not have time to explore that idea unless I do it now. Nowadays? I just jot it down on my phone with Evernote. Whenever I have some ‘mess around’ time where I want to code something but not necessarily for our current project, I just pop open evernote and take an idea and run with it.
Time Off Really Recharges You
I’ve come to appreciate the weekends and time off. It’s gone from a frantic “catch up with everything I put off during the week” to a much more relaxed state and just reflecting on the week’s events and planning for next week’s. I start each week actually refreshed, whereas before I typically had the “need a vacation from the vacation” feeling where it’s hard to get back into “work mode” because I still feel burned out. Vacation time and “paid time off” accrual I felt was something I was constantly trying to earn more of. Nowadays I haven’t even considered taking a vacation…
The Clock and Me
My day no longer revolves around a clock. When I want to work on an idea, I just…do. Want to work a littler later to get it done? Sure. Want to stop early because I’ve hit a stopping point? Sure. No one is forcing me to ‘fill up’ 8 hours in the work day just for the sake of working. Tasks are now more completion oriented than time oriented. I work on what makes sense.
It Only Gets Better
I’m sure there are going to be some rough spots in our future as a small company. But the fact that our success hinges squarely on both Adam and my shoulders makes it far more compelling to succeed; as opposed to a small incremental pay bump and an extra day off. Thinking about going indie yourself? I would say when all is said and done, the positives vastly overwhelm the negatives. But like any idea, you need to have a plan. As long as you have a good plan and remain positive, even if your venture fails you’ll come out of it with a lot more life experience and a better perspective on what it means when someone says “I do X for a living” ;).