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I got a full time job 6 months ago working as a programmer, which is awesome.
However, I find that after spending 7 hours at work coding, I don’t really feel like coding games when I get home. The last [GitD](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/4-game-programming/topics/327257-gitd-30-entries-and-discussion) was a real struggle.
Do any of you juggle a coding job and making games in your spare time? How do you handle it?
I had a ‘coding job’ over the summer, and on a typical day my schedule would involve working on my personal project from around 6-8am, leaving for work at around 8:30am, working at work till 5pm (whilst working on my personal project on paper whenever the workload was particularly light, and also during lunch breaks), then after dinner spending a couple of hours reading lecture notes for the next year at uni, and finally spending up to a couple more hours working on my personal project before messing around a bit (e.g. watching a movie or TV show) and eventually getting my 6 hours of sleep.
Over the weekends I’d spend up to a good 8 hours each day on my personal project along side reading more lecture notes.
It only all worked because of a combination of things:
I enjoyed the work I did at work, and the workload was often light and paced at whatever speed I was comfortable with
I enjoyed the work I was doing for my personal project (and I still do)
I was alright with sleeping for as little as 6 hours per day for four nights straight
I enjoyed reading the lecture notes at the pace and depth I was going at
Most importantly my 9-5 workload was ‘light’
When you’ve got a full-time job, and particularly a tiresome one, you’re more likely going to want to reduce the personal project workload to 2-4 hours (including my lecture notes, was doing 6), and try to make use of the possibility of working before work (my opinionated reasoning being that the personal project work is likely to be so little of a drag that it doesn’t affect your day job).
I was actually going to add something to my post, but decided not to. I might as well say it now… while I was able to keep up a pretty solid schedule during the Summer holidays, somehow I haven’t been able to replicate the ‘feat’ during term time, and so the consequences were: by week two out of eight of this term I had to ditch my personal project entirely, and still I found it hard to keep up with the term’s work.
Life is tough, haha
In fact, for the first time in almost two months, I’ve scheduled myself to do some personal project stuff today, so fingers crossed!
Yup, as you can tell by looking at my profile, I haven’t made a game (let alone a good one) in forever. This is mainly because all the extra time I have goes to my work, and if there are a few spare minutes left lying around it normally goes to fastSWF.
I’d encourage people to tale time off from programming and computer related things to pursue other things, whether it’s physical activity, friendships, etc. (As I’m sure you all do obviously). Just saying it’s easy to work way too much and get burnt out, and that’s not good for anyone.
I do need my 7 hours of sleep, gladly my current job is not stressful.
Currently I develop games more than I play them, is a matter of sacrify something for the other, to put and complete short goals is excellent for motivation.
As some others have said, it is good to try to have a life outside this; and if you think about it, outside experiences may also even enrich the games you make.