I always used to manage my own time through personal projects, even when I was a teenager.
As far as I can remember, even if my anxiety was judging me with a grin over my shoulder, I needed to create projects on my own: write stories, create games (none ever finished, of course) and organize them in a way that I would be able to understand what I was doing. Time was infinite with those projects, since they were mine alone: if I decided to give up on them because I was bored, I was free to do so with no consequences.
That, of course, cannot apply in the real world, when clients are involved.
Any experience counts
Now in a professional position, I have to wear many hats during production and project manager is one of them. Officially, it is my first time being a project manager. However, through my past jobs in the 3D simulation business (micro-managing my own projects for clients) and all those personal creative endeavors I tried to do while organizing my tasks on my own in a very clumsy way are strangely part of an experience that counts.
Of course, I am just beginning to learn the philosophy of it (and online courses really do help on that end, too), but I am surprised to see myself begin to understand it all in the long run. There is nothing like being thrown in the action and let your survival instincts take over and learn from your mistakes as they come along. I have so much to learn though, because in-between all those tasks we have to do, one thing is always hanging over our head like a huge Damocles sword: time itself.
Making space for chaos
The truth is, I never managed a game project like the one William Somewhat is building from the ground up. The number of tasks that we have to foresee is huge and placing all the pieces of the puzzle is a challenge in itself. Time is the most important factor that will determine if we can go all the way with the ideas we have in mind or if we will have to cut some of them in a more focused way.
Not only that, but time is an element that always goes forward and life has a habit of throwing curveballs at you and, as a project manager, you have to try to organize around those. The only thing you can do is create space around the possible chaos that can happen while going forward. Time is there to remind you, as a creator, that reality has its limits and that if you want to make this project happen, you have to play with the rules to get what you want...well, most of it anyway.
What about you guys? How do you organize your work when you’re on your own? What experiences do you use as tools to create your games? Share your thoughts!