When I started this blog, I thought I’d post every week or so, perhaps even more frequently. But here we are, about two weeks out from my last post. Clearly, my plan did not play out as expected. Call it an excuse, but I think the absence of a routine for writing these blogs may be to blame.
My “motivation style”
I know people who spend hours every day on side projects, I know people who don’t finish what they should finish, and I think I’m about in the middle; I do all the work I need to do, and do some stuff that I find interesting. With that said, most of my motivation is concentrated in a small slice of time. I’ll have moments of inspiration where I rush to get to work on a project or homework, and I’ll sit there working on it for 4-6 hours consecutively. This is when I get most of my work done. But after that rush of energy, I rarely feel that intense longing for whatever I was working on ever again, as if I exhaust all my interest in that single day or two. Therefore, many projects go incomplete. Even now, there’s tons of game prototypes just lying in my repo collecting dust.
Same applies for activities besides programming. I rarely stay on a single playlist for more than a week, I kinda know how to play three instruments, but haven’t played any of them in a long time.
I have noticed this problem with me and have been bugged by it since. Last couple years, however, I have managed to overcome this sine wave of motivation, starting with going to the gym. After graduating high school in February (Korean high schools end in February), I had a few months until I left for the US. Until my internship, I literally had nothing to do. No work, no responsibilities (besides basic housework), and most of my friends were in Korean University. Thus, I took on the “habit” of going to the gym. Before then, I never really dedicated any time to working out, so starting to go to the gym was an adventure for me.
Exercise started out pretty rough, mostly because I didn’t know anything about working out: what to workout, how to workout, when to workout. Only once I started taking lessons did my fitness journey really took off. Learning about the what and how were obviously very helpful, but by far the best part about lessons was I learned when to workout. A side effect of taking lessons was I needed to book time slots to workout. Deciding a consistent time during the week when I was to work out was the first step to forming a gym routine. After a month of training, I started assigning myself when to come to the gym on days I don’t have lessons, and… voila! My fitness routine was set.
Once that routine was set, it was so much easier to come to the gym. In fact, it was difficult to skip it - my day would feel incomplete without it. The routine stopped me from losing my focus and interest.
Be better 2
With this new insight, I’ve tried to focus my work and hobbies around a fixed schedule. I can’t say I’ve been successful in locking myself into a concrete routine for everything, but for activities I succeeded in, it has turned out wonderfully. Despite Brown RISD Game Devs taking a good chunk of my time on Saturdays, I forced myself to attend as many meetings as I could (i.e. whenever I was in Providence). Now, I genuinely can’t imagine missing a meeting and am part of the e-board.
Even for things where a routine didn’t quite form, the attempt managed to capture and hold on to my passion for the subject. Boardgame_engine may have been a one-off project that I never looked at again. But because I tried to work on it consistently, it still grows bit by bit today.
Though for this blog, I’m not happy having attempted to form a routine; I actually want to consistently post. Maintaining a blog is good writing practice, nice decoration to my resume, and a healthy outlet for thoughts stuck in my mind. So, I hereby declare that every Saturday, except Spring break, I’ll post something onto this blog. Doesn’t need to be grand, but just something. Now that I’ve said it outside my head, I’ll likely keep my word. Otherwise, I’ll feel bad.