Jennifer is very interested in personal development and she could see that I was in a demotivated rut in terms of games development. I would talk a lot about writing games but not be able to translate that talk into meaningful action. In January 2011 I was the subject of an intervention, for my birthday Jen gave me some sessions with life coach Linda Allen as a present. Over the next few months we talked about my goals and what I needed to get myself motivated. Linda also held me accountable for achieving the goals that I set for myself at the end of each session.
The coaching sessions were excellent and took me out of the rut I had been in. I also discovered a rule that works for me and keeps me motivated and productive to this day. This is the fifteen minute rule and it is as simple as committing myself to doing fifteen minutes of programming every week day. I like to give myself the weekends off as I think we need days that are completely our own.
The reason this works for me is that even if I'm feeling tired or bored of programming I can find and do something simple which fills up those fifteen minutes. I then feel as though I have fulfilled my commitment to myself and can feel good about stopping work and playing games. Most of the time I carry on working for another hour or two once my fifteen minutes are up because by then I have been hooked.
There have been weeks where I have only done fifteen minutes of coding work each night. The value of that time spent is that it keeps my code fresh in my mind and my mind fresh at coding. Any programmer will tell you that if they leave some code for a week, it will take them a few hours to figure out where they left off and remind themselves how everything works again. The more days that you put off getting started again, the harder it is when you try, by just doing fifteen minutes of easy work each day you avoid that trap.